In 2008, the seven Central American countries witnessed a strong upswing in tourism. The previous year, as many as 8 million people from all over the world were expected to visit Maya sites in places like Tikal (Guatemala) and Copan (Honduras); the wildlife refuges and beaches of Costa Rica; the Panama Canal; and the volcanoes and colonial cities of Nicaragua. Nearly 100,000 tourists were expected from Germany alone, according to Pilar Cano, general secretary of the Central America Tourism Agency (CATA). Speaking in the Costa Rican capital of San Jose at the start of the tourism fair CATM (Central America Travel Market), Cano said, “The countries’ joint marketing, including in Europe, and the stable political situation are bearing fruit.” Belize and El Salvador also reported more tourists in 2007 than in 2006. In 2006, about 7 million people visited Central America. Costa Rica remained the region’s most popular destination. In 2006, it received 1.725 million guests, a figure that Tourism Minister Carlos Ricardo Benavides expected to increase by about 10 per cent in 2008. “Tourism provides a livelihood for the people of all seven countries,” Benavides said. “To keep it that way, we must continue to work for peace as well as climate and environmental protection.”