Ninety-nine percent of foreign tourists who visit Mexico leave the country with the idea of recommending it to others "as a great destination," according to a government survey to which Efe had access Monday.

The study says that last year "99 percent of foreign tourists said they would recommend visiting" Mexico's leading tourist spots, 2 percent more than the year before.

Another statistic related to foreign visitors shows that 98 percent of those who were in the country said they would return, 1 percentage point higher than in 2009.

With regard to domestic tourists, the proportion that suggests to other people that they visit the country's most popular colonial areas, archaeological sites or oceanside resorts increased from 95 percent to 98 percent

Last year Mexico's tourism industry brought in revenues of $11.87 billion, a sum that topped by 5.3 percent the amount in 2009, according to official figures.

A total of 22.4 million people visited the country in 2010, representing 4.4 percent more than in 2009, and more than the 22 million tourists in 2008.

Mexican authorities expect foreign investment of some $3.5 billion in the tourism sector over the next three years, an amount expected to create some 20,000 jobs.

At the beginning of the year, the Mexican government declared 2011 as Tourism Year in an attempt to relaunch a sector that had been battered by the global recession and by the swine-flu outbreak of 2009.

Tourism is Mexico's third-biggest source of revenue after oil exports and remittances from emigrants in the United States.