MEXICO CITY, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's government-elect must maintain investment in tourism to attract Asian visitors, said Mexican Tourism Minister Enrique de la Madrid on Thursday.
In this Aug. 3, 2018 photo, tourists walk at the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. (AP)
At an event in Mexico City to celebrate "World Tourism Day" which falls annually on Sept. 27, the minister called for continued investment to meet the demands of the changing tourism landscape.
"We have a reduction of growth in tourism from the United States to Mexico," said De la Madrid," We also have economic issues in Argentina and Brazil, and areas of opportunity for growth are in Asian countries."
The minister's comments came weeks after president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador suggested he would use tourism industry financing to build the ambitious Maya Train project.
According to Mexican daily El Universal, the train route, which would stretch 900 km through the southern states of Quintana Roo, Chiapas and Tabasco, would take four years to build and cost six to eight billion U.S. dollars.
The minister believes that in the future Mexico could raise tourist numbers from 40 million to 60 million a year, generating 40 billion dollars in foreign currency income.
At the event, a representative from the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Antonio Lopez de Avila, added that tourism is the third largest economic sector in the world, which drives economic growth and social inclusion.
According to data from UNWTO, in 2017 Mexico became the world's sixth most popular tourist destination, up from the eight spot, and welcomed 39.3 million visitors.
Mexico's tourism ministry estimates that 41 million tourists would visit the country in 2018, which would represent an extra 7 percent in foreign currency income.