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Mexico pushes six-fold tourism investment boost by 2012


( dpa ) - Mexico will seek a six-fold increase in tourism investments by 2012, to reach 20 billion dollars, Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Thursday.

In a meeting with the business community to promote investment in infrastructure in the tourist sector, Calderon said a record investment of 3.5 billion dollars was reached in 2007, surpassing expectations.

"Our wish is, of course, not just to keep up, but to increase the rhythm of investment in the sector this year. By 2012 we want Mexico to have private investment in tourism of at least 20 billion dollars," Calderon said.

The Mexican president is keen to promote investment in infrastructure as a way to diffuse the effects of a possible recession in the United States.

On Wednesday, the creation of a National Fund for Infrastructure was announced. In its first year, it is set to have some 3.7 billion dollars in public funds to finance top-priority works.

Calderon said Mexico is trying "to create a favourable business environment for investment," through a determined fight against organized crime, economic stability, and a historic public spending of 25 billion dollars over the next five years.

In the field of tourism, he said, there are "new, very interesting market opportunities" in cultural tourism, ecotourism, conventions and in the real estate market for second homes for foreigners who chose to spend long periods or retire in Mexico.

The president said the conditions are right for Mexico to attract more tourists from the United States, Canada and Europe, given the strong euro.

Published Friday, February 8, 2008 2:17 PM by Kanoa Biondolillo

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