Welcome to Mexico. We are very pleased to receive you in this beautiful port in the Mexican Pacific Basin.
As the host country， we consider this meeting an excellent opportunity to strengthen and broaden our ties in the field of tourism， as well as to increase the links of cooperation.
At this meeting， the ministers responsible for tourism will exchange information， opinions and experiences which will make it possible to strengthen public policies improve and thereby member countries' economies. The agreements and resolutions stemming from this meeting will contribute to the Summit Meeting to be held this coming October in Los Cabos， Baja California Sur.
The working agenda of this important meeting of ministers has focused on obtaining results in four major areas： facilitation for companies and investment in tourism； increase in tourist mobility and their demand for tourism goods and services； sustainable development of tourism projects and definition of tourism as a fundamental tool for economic and social development.
Prominent on this agenda is respect for the environment and for the culture and traditions of peoples， regions and tourist destinations， which are the ethical and political basis for any tourism development project in the Asia-Pacific region and the general framework for its future growth.
Thus， APEC responds and adapts to changes in the global and regional economy， which ratifies the points agreed upon at last year's meeting： the leaders' declaration against terrorism， the Shanghai Accord and APEC's strategy for the new economy.
Due to the adverse international economic conditions we experienced in 2001， the flow of tourists in the world amounted to almost 700 million arrivals， a figure 0.6 percent lower than in the preceding year. However， the prospects for this year are positive and undoubtedly point toward a recovery of this activity， with its consequent multiplying effects on other branches of the economy.
In Mexico's case， a most favorable evolution of its main variables has enabled it to maintain a clear economic stability， which 每added to our enormous potential of natural， cultural and human resources每 has made it possible to sustain our eighth position worldwide in tourist arrivals， as well as twelfth place in the attraction of foreign currency from tourism. As Mexicans， we aspire to increased foreign investment in industry and services， tourism included in the latter. And therefore tourism is a priority for our country.
Today， Mexico has magnificent tourism projects on the Pacific， such as the Nautical Ladder in the Gulf of California and those being developed in Loreto， Los Cabos， Vallarta， Manzanillo， Nuevo Vallarta， Ixtapa， Acapulco and Huatulco， among others， which have major value as attractive options for investment and business.
At the same time， we have a rich ancestral culture in the region， made up of the archeological zones of central and southeastern Mexico， and jewels of colonial architecture such as those of Zacatecas and Guanajuato， to mention only a few. Furthermore， UNESCO has recognized cities such as Morelia and Oaxaca， among others， as Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Mexico's participation in APEC dates back to 1993， and since then this mechanism has been an active area of our foreign policy and of the promotion for greater tourism， trade and investment exchanges with the rest of the countries of the Asia-Pacific region.
I am very pleased by Mexico's active participation and I congratulate all the tourism ministers and representatives of the APEC member countries here today for their enormous and constant efforts in favor of tourism activities.
Mexico and my Administration wish you all the best during your working days and a productive stay in Manzanillo， this magnificent port in the beautiful state of Colima， where we welcome you with open arms. I wish you every success in this APEC 2002 Asia-Pacific Cooperation Forum， which will undoubtedly bring great benefits for the noble smokestack-free industry in this dynamic region of the world.
Congratulations and good luck.