Mayan interest drives Guatemala visits

9th Jul 2013

An interest in Mayan history and culture has helped boost Guatemala's tourism figures by nearly 9% in the first half of 2013.

The Guatemalan Tourism Institute (Inguat) launched its "I'm Guatemala, I am for you" international marketing campaign slogan in February hoping to capitalise on the country's three Unesco World Heritage sites - Antigua, Tikal and Quirigua - and its natural beauty.

Benedicto Grijalva, marketing director of Martsam Travel, said about 85% of tourists were attracted by Guatemala's cultural sites and its unique heritage.

He said: "The end of the Baktun 13 (the last cycle of the Mayan calendar) has helped renew global interest in Mayan archaeology and this, along with the living culture of this vibrant multicultural country with 23 different languages and exquisite traditional crafts and textiles, has boosted the popularity of tours that delve into the fascinating past and present of the Maya."

The Central American country saw a significant rise in tourism revenue in 2012 - at 1.42 billion dollars up from 1.34 billion in 2011.

The government has also increased its foreign investment by more than 300% since 2003 in a bid to improve economic growth, stability and infrastructure.

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