MEXICO CITY, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- Mexico saw a record revenue from international tourism in 2017, netting 21.3 billion U.S. dollars from the sector and up 8.3 percent from 2016, Tourism Minister Enrique de la Madrid said Thursday.
In a press conference, de la Madrid said that 2017 had seen "historical numbers" for tourism. He said Mexico welcomed 39.3 million foreign travelers in 2017, a 12-percent increase from 2016.
This makes the sector the third-largest source of income for Mexico, behind the automotive industry and remittance from abroad.
The minister said in the last five years, Mexico has pioneered a special strategy for tourism backed by public policies that allowed the Mexican tourism sector to experience "an unprecedented boost to the development of a modern, competitive and environmentally responsible tourism offering."
He added that the increase had also been due to landmark events such as the Day of the Dead parade or the Mexico Grand Prix Formula One race.
"The tourism sector is one of the pillars of the president's economic project. Today, over 10 million Mexicans live directly or indirectly from tourism, an industry that has grown with our entire economy," said Eduardo Sanchez, a government spokesperson who also attended the press conference.
Since 2012, Mexico's gross domestic product has grown by an average of 2.5 percent a year. The tourism sector has outpaced the national economy with growth at 3 percent a year, Sanchez said.