Cancun is a city in the far east of Mexico, located on the Yucatán Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. The city has 526,701 inhabitants (census 2005) and is world famous as a tourist resort. Until the 1950s, Cancun was an insignificant town on an island in the Caribbean Sea near the coast, with some fishing and a number of Mayan ruins. However, the Mexican government and international investors decided to develop Cancun into a tourist resort. It was connected to the mainland by a dam and an international airport was built. From the 1960s, Cancun began to grow rapidly. Today, Cancun is a large city, most of which is located on the mainland. It is the largest city in Quintana Roo and the capital of the municipality of Benito Juárez. Cancun is visited by three million tourists every year, the majority from the United States. The former island of Cancun is now only a part of the city where mainly large hotels, shopping centers and entertainment venues are located. This is also referred to as the "hotel zone".
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