LAS VEGAS, May 20 (UPI) -- Mexico's president declared his country is "a safe place to visit" despite ongoing accounts of bloody drug cartel wars.
In an interview with CBS at the Global Travel and Tourism Summit at the Aria hotel in Las Vegas Thursday, President Felipe Calderon said he wants Mexico to become one of the top 5 international tourist destinations by 2020.
Toward that end, he appointed Gloria Guevar Manzo as Mexico's first secretary of tourism, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
"Mexico is a safe place to visit," Calderon said downplaying the more than 10,000 gang-related killings reported in 2010, adding "you could count on your fingers" the number of drug-related events involving tourists in Mexico.
Calderon alleged Mexican authorities say they have captured or killed 20 of the 37 most wanted criminals in the past two years and insisted his hard line reform policies would result in international tourism companies investing in hotel and resort development.