WHY IT RATES: Another banner year for tourism means that Mexico, especially the Mexican Caribbean, is a major draw for travelers. —Janeen Christoff, TravelPulse Senior WriterMORE Destination & Tourism Cozumel, the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean, once again attracted a record-breaking number of visitors to one of the world’s busiest cruise ports. The island is celebrating an unprecedented year amid a slate of new tourism additions.Cozumel recorded a 4 percent increase reaching more than four million cruise passengers, approximately 54 percent of Mexico’s total number of cruise passengers received in 2018. The announcement follows a prosperous year for the island which saw the historic arrival of the world’s largest cruise, Symphony of the Seas, in November. The destination of Quintana Roo captured five million cruisers and about 70 percent of Mexico’s overall cruise travelers, according to the General Directorate of Ports of the Ministry of Communications and Transportation.“Cozumel’s magical attractions continue drawing new visitors year after year, showing the unparalleled pull of this iconic destination. We look forward to another prosperous year for this island and hope to keep breaking records with exciting innovations,” said Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board.Cozumel is internationally renowned for not only being a cruise and beach destination but for being one of the top diving destinations in the world, having recently won a Scuba Diving Readers’ Choice Award as one of the world’s best destinations for scuba diving, and offering an array of international sports events including the full and half IRONMAN, GFNY Cozumelcycling event, among many others. Cozumel’s cultural events have also resulted in the increase of international visitors and positioned it as one of the most sought-after ports in the world.The Cozumel Carnival, taking place at the end of the month, is the most popular and one of the oldest carnivals in Mexico. Founded in 1874 by migrating families who made a new home in Cozumel, the colorful festivities traditionally run the month leading up to Lent, beginning with pre-carnival events from Feb. 2 to Feb. 26 and the carnival held Feb. 27 to March 6.Five weeks of exciting music, dance, masquerade and family-friendly entertainment gather revelers on the streets of Cozumel to honor the island’s rich, diverse history and vibrant fantasy, a blend of storied folklore and modern touches that commemorate a rich culture. For generations, partygoers dressed in masks and costumes have created a convivial atmosphere that breaks barriers of culture, language and class for all to enjoy.For more information, visit Cozumel.travel. SOURCE: Quintana Roo Tourism Board press release.