Tourists encouraged to buy food and souvenirs locally
One billion tourists have travelled the world in 2012, marking a new record for international tourism. This sector of the economy accounts for one in every 12 jobs and 30% of the world’s services exports, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. International tourism has continued to grow in 2012, despite global economic uncertainty, so that it is one of the world’s biggest economic sectors, accounting for 9% of global GDP (direct, indirect, induced impact).
The UNWTO has launched a One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign to celebrate this milestone, showing tourists that respecting local culture, preserving heritage or buying local goods when traveling can make a big difference.
In time for the symbolic arrival date of the one-billionth tourist yesterday – a British tourist visiting Spain – the public had been 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 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.
[pictured: Symbolic celebration in Spain of one billionth tourist; photo courtesy unwto.org]