Mexico's tourism activity grew 3.9 percent in the first quarter of this year, compared to the same period in 2011, thanks to strong demand for tourist services, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said Tuesday.

This indicator shows how the gross domestic tourism product is performing and is complemented by another statistic, the quarterly domestic tourism consumption indicator.

The measures reflect the consumption levels of both domestic and foreign tourists, a figure that was up 5.1 percent during the January-March period.

Consumption by domestic tourists rose 5.3 percent in the first quarter, while consumption by foreign tourists was up 3.8 percent during the period, the INEGI said.

The tourist services sector, which made the biggest contribution to Mexico's gross domestic tourism product, grew 4.6 percent in the first quarter.

A total of 38.2 million foreign tourists visited the country during the first six months of the year, with border tourists and cruise ship passengers accounting for 26.6 million of these visitors and international tourists accounting for 11.6 million, the Bank of Mexico said.

Tourism accounts for about 8 percent of Mexico's gross domestic product (GDP) and is the third-largest generator of foreign exchange, trailing only oil and remittances. EFE