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International Tourism Reaches 1 Billion in 2012

News In 2012 international tourism reached an important milestone – as many as 1 billion tourists travelled the world. Currently, one in every 12 jobs is connected with tourism in some way. Moreover, tourist industry accounts for 30% of the total export of services in the world.

The symbolic one-billionth tourist was counted by UNWTO on December 13, 2012. Celebrating the tremendous result, UNWTO officials mentioned that it was very important to make sure travellers did not do any harm to the places they visited and only had a positive impact on the local economy.

Such a figure, without a doubt, makes international tourism one of key economic sectors of the world. Its current direct and indirect impact to the global GDP estimates 9%. Tourism also has a share of up to 8% of the total exports of LDCs (the least developed countries).

In order to show how even a slight action can make a significant impact, UNWTO has launched a new program called “One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities”. The main aim of this program is to teach tourists how to respect local culture and heritage, and do not forget to purchase local goods when travelling. “Buy Local” was also selected as the main Travel Tip for tourists. When travellers buy local souvenirs, hire local guides and translators, they help to develop local travel industry and economy.

The important milestone in development of tourist industry was celebrated in Madrid. The symbolic one-billionth tourist was welcomed in the Museo del Prado, the most popular tourist attraction of Madrid. UNWTO has also revealed information about main source and target destinations. The majority of travellers come from Europe (53%), followed by Asia Pacific (22%), Americas (17%), and the Middle East (3%). Interestingly, main destinations of travellers are also the same. In 2012 tourists preferred to visit Europe (51%), Asia Pacific (22%), Americas (16%), the Middle East (6%), and Africa (5%).


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