Record for international tourism – One billion tourists in 2012

many directions sign

The allures of traveling are legendary: history, all that culture, the incredible wine, and those fabulous beaches!

The World Tourism Organization announced this week that one billion tourists have travelled the world in 2012.  Did you get that?  One billion tourists THIS YEAR!

It’s a staggering figure for one year and almost impossible to comprehend.  When I was standing in the security line at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris recently,  I swear most of the one billion tourists were lined up in front of me.

crowd scene

Marking a new record for international tourism , this is a sector that accounts for one in every 12 jobs and 30% of the world’s services exports.

With tourism growing exponentially, how can we make it work for the places we are visiting?  WTO shared a few tips tourists can take to ensure their trips benefit the people and places they visit:

         Respect local culture:  learn about the destination’s traditions, or some words in the local language before leaving home;  It’s easier than you think and you can learn how to order coffee, wine, beer and ask where the bathroom is.

Buy local goods when traveling can make a big difference: buy food and souvenirs locally, or hire local guides to ensure your spending translates into jobs and income for host communities.  I always go to local markets when I travel – its a great way to pick up one of a kind items, and you get to chat to local artists.

  • Paradisus Punta Cana

If the  international tourist buys local products today, they’ll be supporting the community they visit through income and jobs. If they use the same hotel towel tomorrow, they’ll be saving energy and water.

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Now imagine if each one of the one billion tourists did the same.

It’s up to all of us, every single one of the one billion tourists, to make our actions count. Only together can we transform one billion tourists into one billion opportunities.

Scandinave snow covered Muskoka chairs  .According to 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.”

information from:   World Tourism Organization (UNWTO),

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About The blog of travel & lifestyle journalist Melody Wren

Melody is a freelance writer because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. She writes about travel, food, lifestyle and green living. Melody loves staying in a place long enough to get acquainted. Local customs, markets and traditional cultures are magnets for this writer. When not writing she’s either on the road, in the air, or savoring something tasty. Most of her travels feature outdoor adventures of some sort, although she typically avoids sleeping on the ground. She is an ordinary person that enjoys challenging and pushing herself, facing fears with an eye on experiential travel. She needs to do it, feel it and see it so she can write about it. Her hope is that her stories encourage readers to get out there and do the same.
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