A small motor boat passes by the old port in front of a trademark sunset over the Sea of Cortez that has attracted tourists from Arizona and California for decades in Rocky Point, Mexico. Photo by Greg Bryan/Arizona Daily Star

Greg Bryan/Arizona Daily Star 2007

Despite violence in Mexico, foreign travel there remains strong, the country's tourism ministry reported recently.

But while the secretary of tourism reported a record in 2011, the ministry's own data doesn't completely back up her claims. The number of "international tourists" hit 23.4 million in 2011, up from 22.3 million in 2009. But the number of foreign "excursionistas" — those who cross the border by land for shorter trips — remained down in 2011.

Mexico reported 70 million excursionistas in 2008, and the number has dropped sharply to 52,329 last year. That appears to hold true in Puerto Peñasco, or Rocky Point as it is known to Americans. Border-crossings at Lukeville — a rough measure of the number of people visiting the beach town — hit its lowest number in 10 years last year. And this year the numbers look slightly worse.

FY02:    433,000

FY03:    423,000

FY04:    395,000

FY05:    401,000

FY06:    426,000

FY07:    451,000

FY08:    421,000

FY09:    347,000

FY10:    312,835

FY11:    259,784  (Equivalent to 21,649 per month)

FY12:    207,499  (From October 2011 through July 2012, equivalent to 20,750 per month)

Visits to Peñasco are likely to take another hit after the shootout there July 17 followed by a new warning this week by the U.S. Consulate, which noted home invasions affecting Americans in Rocky Point.

Mexico's is building its tourism industry by marketing itself as a destination in countries other than the United States, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs reports. That and other efforts are helping make this summer a record one at least in hotel-room occupancy, tourism minister Gloria Guevara said Wednesday.