SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mexican officials say American tourists are returning to Baja California in increasing numbers after being driven away by the drug war there.

Baja California's Tourism Department officials say foreigners made up more than 45 percent of all visitors, after dropping to a low of less than 25 percent when cartels unleashed unprecedented bloodshed.

State tourism officials say sport fishing licenses that are almost exclusively sought by Americans have increased more than 75 percent this year.

Baja California's former Tourism Secretary Juan Tintos says the biggest jump in foreign tourism came after the region's nouveau cuisine, called Baja Med, caught the attention of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain and Rick Bayless.

The boost also comes as homicides plummeted from 1,528 in 2010 to 584 in 2012.