Private companies plan to invest $8.6 billion in tourism projects in Mexico over the next three years, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Wednesday, as the country’s tourism industry works to overcome publicity from drug-related violence.

The investment will focus on building new hotels, refurbishing existing ones, and giving public spaces a facelift.

Acapulco, one of Mexico’s most famous beach resorts, has become one of the most violent cities in the Americas over the past three years because of in-fighting among drug gangs.

The head of Mexico’s board of tourism businesses, Pablo Azcarraga, said the investment drive would create around 28,000 jobs directly involved in the industry and another 78,000 jobs linked to it.

The announcement comes as Pena Nieto seeks to boost private investment in Mexico, particularly through reforms of the energy and telecoms sectors, to help boost the economy after a slowdown in the first half of the year.

(Reporting by Liz Diaz; Editing by Simon Gardner and Vicki Allen). Copyright (2013) Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Photo Credit: Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto gives a speech during his proposal for energy reforms at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City August 12, 2013. Henry Romero / Reuters