Central America was a big hit with European visitors in 2012 according to new figures released by the ministries of tourism of the seven Central American countries.
In total Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama – received 832,567 European visitors last year, an increase of nearly 16 per cent when compared to the previous year.
The German and British markets experienced the biggest growth last year, and were up by nine per cent and seven per cent respectively.
Spain continues to be the main European outbound market for Central America with 151,202 visitors in 2012, followed by Germany (120,911 visitors) and the UK in third place (107,101 visitors).
While Costa Rica continues to be the most popular destination for British visitors, a growing interest in the Maya culture and the celebration of the start of a new era according to the Maya calendar resulted in a huge surge in visitors to Guatemala, which received 31,286 British visitors in 2012, 27 per cent more than in 2011.
Honduras, another destination with a big Maya heritage, attracted four per cent more British visitors than in the previous year.
The total number of visitors from around the world to Central America in 2012 was 12,545,313, an overall increase of 1.36 per cent compared to 2011.