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Ok, with one billion tourists to keep a check on, no-one quite knows where the billionth one would actually be but the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) have calculated that it would happen today. UNWTO, whose headquarters are in Madrid, chose the Museo del Prado as the symbolic location to celebrate the event. This figure only accounts for tourists crossing international borders, they estimate a further 5-6 billion travel within their own countries every year.
The UNWT declare tourism to be one of the worlds largest economic sectors accounting for 9% of global GDP and one in twelve jobs. It also accounts for 8% of total exports from the worlds Least Developed Countries.
UNWTO launched the One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign to celebrate the milestone and remind us all of the positive effects even the smallest action can have when multiplied by a billion. The public voted on what travel tip they thought would be to most benefit to the people and places they visited.
The winning tip was to Buy Local, encouraging tourists to spend their money on goods and services directly benefiting the host community. Close second was Respect Local Culture encouraging tourists to learn more about their destination and a few words of the language before they leave home.
Teleb Rifai, UNWTO Secretary-General said: "Today, we welcome the symbolic arrival of the one-billionth tourist.”
"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 mores sustainable future.”
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