Within weeks from declaring 2011 to be Mexico's “year of tourism,” the country's president Felipe Calderon said that the government aims to make Mexico the world's top fifth tourism destination by 2018.

Currently, Mexico ranks tenth in the top 10 tourism destinations of the world, according to World Tourism Organization (WTO), he said.

Calderon stressed that to bring Mexico in top 5 slot, travel connectivity of the country from various other countries has to be increased. This would require more flight services to famous tourist spots and beach cities of Mexico, including Cancun and Acapulco, which are the top Spring Break destinations that attract students from United States and other countries during summers.

Development of tourism infrastructure, acceleration of the construction of highways, ports and airports are some of the aspects to be covered for achieving the target in tourism, both in terms of increasing the number of visitors and revenue generations, he added.

According to official figures, about 22.3 million foreign tourists visited Mexico in 2010 and about 6 million U.S. dollars was generated through tourism.

The president also urged tour operators and state governments to promote Mexico as a tourism hot spot abroad and strengthen its national image, which has been undergoing undulating changes in the wake of bad publicity over drug-related violence in the country. The incidents of beheadings and shootings have taken their toll on the Mexican holiday industry.

Foreign tourism is a key source of income in Mexico and the country wants to reclaim its share of the market by reminding tourists about its wonderful beaches and archaeological sites, Calderon said.