NEW YORK (AP) — A snapshot of hotel occupancy in Cancun shows tourism there was as strong as it's been in years during the first three months of this year, according to STR, which tracks data from the global hotel industry.

STR reported that 79 percent of the hotel rooms it tracks in Cancun were occupied during the first quarter, which includes the winter and early spring break period, a busy time of year for the beach resort area.

That occupancy rate for 2013 was 8.6 percent higher than the first quarter of 2012, according to data from STR, and stronger than any January-March period going back to 2007.

Average nightly rates were $159.80 for the first quarter, also 8.8 percent higher than a year ago, but still well below the $190.65 nightly average from first quarter 2008, before the recession took hold of the U. S. economy.

STR's data tracks 22 percent of the 29,000 rooms in Cancun's 135 hotels. Although the report is just a snapshot, it does suggest that Cancun remains a popular tourist destination, despite headlines about violence elsewhere in Mexico. The pricing data also suggests that economically, tourism is still recovering from the recession but is on an upward swing.

STR's data for the Acapulco-Morelia area, which draws on information from 13.6 percent of 29,000 rooms in 268 local properties, showed a 53 percent occupancy rate for the first quarter of 2013, up from last year's 43 percent occupancy rate. That was still well below a 69 percent occupancy rate in 2007, before the recession and violence began to mar tourism in the region. Six Spanish tourists were raped in a vacation rental home in Acapulco this past February in the middle of peak tourism season.

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