Although a number of flashy Hollywood portrayals would have you believe that the end of the Maya calendar will bring about the end of the world as we know it, in Mexico's stunning Riviera Maya – and in other parts of the country – tourism numbers are already on the rise as the country prepares for 2012.
Dubbed the “Year of Tourism” for all of Mexico by current president Felipe Calderon, several of the country's top officials have been traveling throughout the US over the last few weeks, encouraging travelers to visit the many stunning archaeological sites that are located in the states of Campeche, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Tabasco and the Yucatan. The 2012 tourism campaign will include a countdown to the calendar's end and focuses on the country's ten most impressive ancient Maya archaeological sites, which are located in these five states.
“Our interpretation of the Mayan calendar is reverse to what many people speculate,” said Rodolfo Lopez-Negrete, who is the chief operating officer for the Mexican Tourism Board, at a recent stop in Los Angeles. “Our focus will be on growth and prosperity instead of the end of the world.”
According to the Mexican tourism board, in 2010 the visitors from the United States made up more than 60 percent of Mexico's more than 22 million international tourists. Also of interest, during the same period the number of travelers coming from Brazil, China and Russia have risen dramatically. These healthy numbers indicate that travelers from around the world are coming to realize that the drug-related violence in the northern border regions is isolated and situated far from the many popular tourists destinations located throughout the country.