Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive


International Tourism Hits One Billion for 2012

UNWTO Reports the Actions Tourists Can Take to Ensure
their Trips Benefit the People and Places they Visit

December 14, 2012 - One billion tourists have travelled the world in 2012, marking a new record for international tourism – a sector that accounts for one in every 12 jobs and 30% of the world’s services exports. On the symbolic arrival date of the one-billionth tourist (13 December 2012), UNWTO revealed the actions tourists can take to ensure their trips benefit the people and places they visit, as voted by the public.

International tourism has continued to grow in 2012, despite global economic uncertainty, to reach over one billion international tourist arrivals. The figure cements tourism’s position as one of the world’s largest economic sectors, accounting for 9% of global GDP (direct, indirect and induced impact), one in every 12 jobs and up to 8% of the total exports of the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Recalling the positive impact even the smallest action can have if multiplied by one billion, UNWTO launched the One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign to celebrate this milestone, showing tourists that respecting local culture, preserving heritage or buying local goods when travelling can make a big difference. The public was asked to vote for the Travel Tip that would have the greatest benefit for the people and places they visit and to pledge to follow that tip when traveling.

The winning tip, revealed on the arrival date of the one-billionth tourist, was Buy Local, encouraging tourists to buy food and souvenirs locally, or hire local guides, to ensure their spending translates into jobs and income for host communities. A close second, Respect Local Culture calls on tourists to learn more about their destination’s traditions, or some words in the local language, before leaving home.

“Today, we welcome the symbolic arrival of the one-billionth tourist” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. “Your actions count. That is our message to the one billion tourists. Through the right actions and choices, each tourist represents an opportunity for a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable future.”

As it is impossible to know exactly where the one-billionth tourist arrived, many countries are celebrating the occasion by welcoming tourists arriving on 13 December. UNWTO is celebrating in Madrid, Spain, home to its headquarters, by welcoming the symbolic one-billionth tourist in the Museo del Prado, Madrid’s most-visited tourism attraction, together with the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain.

Relevant links:
One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities:

To see where the one billion tourists come from, where they travel to, how they get there and what their trips mean for development, see the One Billion Tourists infographics:

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO:, a United Nations specialized agency, is the leading international organization with the decisive and central role in promoting the development of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. It serves as a global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how. Its membership includes 155 countries, 7 territories, 2 permanent observers and over 400 Affiliate Members.


Principal Media Officer
Marcelo Risi
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60

UNWTO Communications Programme
Tel: +34 91-567-8100
Fax: +34 91-567-8218

Receive Your Hospitality Industry Headlines via Email for Free! Subscribe Here  

To Learn More About Your News Being Published on Hotel-Online Inquire Here

Also See: UNWTO Predicts International Tourism on Track to Hit One Billion by End of 2012; International Tourists Worldwide Grew by 5% in First Half of 2012 with Asia Leading Growth / September 2012

First Global Tourism Economy Forum Connects the Chinese Tourism Industry with the Rest of the World; 1,000 Delegates from More than 20 Countries Discussed the Global Interdependency of Tourism and Economic Growth / September 2012

The Global Tourism Economy Forum - Macau 2012 to Debut September 9-11, 2012; High-Profile Speakers to Explore New Paths to Economic Growth / August 2012

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.OnlineSearch

Home | Welcome | Hospitality News
| Industry Resources

Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.