Interest in the ancient Mayan culture has increased in recent years, thanks in part to widespread fascination with the Mayan calendar and the associated predictions of the end of the world. The Mexican state of Yucatan is hoping this will provide a boost to the region's tourism industry.
The Mundo Mayan 2012 initiative hopes to attract more visitors to Yucatan, as well as neighbouring states of Tabasco, Campeche, Chiapas and Quintana Roo. The region is home to several ancient mesoamerican sites, such as Becan and Calakmul in Campeche, Chichen Itza in Yucatan, and Coba in Quintana Roo. Some of these sites date back to 500 BC or earlier, according to Mayan experts Robert Sharer and Loa Traxler, authors of The Ancient Maya.
As quoted by the Efe news agency, Yucatan governor Ivonne Ortega said "with these promotional efforts, we're looking at receiving 2 million more tourists. And with the proceeds that will generate, we'll create new sources of direct and indirect employment."
According to Fox News, 64 per cent of Yucatan's gross domestic product comes from the service industries, especially tourism.
Travellers who are flying to Mexico may wish to consider purchasing both flight insurance and emergency medical insurance, especially when they are visiting remote areas where medical coverage may not be easily accessible.