UNWTO Welcomes the World’s One-Billionth Tourist


A British tourist visiting Madrid, Spain on December 13 has been revealed as the symbolic face of the one billion international tourists travelling in 2012. The tourist was welcomed by the Minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain, José Manuel Soria, UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, and the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, at an event in Madrid’s Museo del Prado, held to celebrate a record one billion international tourists in 2012.

The event, part of the UNWTO One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign, recalled how tourism can create billions of opportunities for growth and development around the world (Madrid, Spain, 13 December 2012).

The celebration was held in Madrid’s Museo del Prado, the city’s most visited tourism attraction, in the presence of UNWTO representatives and Spanish tourism and private sector officials, as well as many of the museum’s daily visitors from around the world. As it is impossible to know exactly where the one-billionth tourist arrived, many countries celebrated the occasion by also welcoming tourists arriving on December 13.

Minister José Manuel Soria noted that Spain was expected to reach a record 58 million international tourist arrivals in 2012, alongside an increase in tourist receipts. The Minister recalled Spain’s intention to increase and retain its large number of tourists who visit the country to experience its diverse tourism attractions.

The event was held as part of the UNWTO campaign, One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities, calling on tourists to make a difference when traveling abroad and recalling the positive impact that even the smallest actions can have if multiplied by one billion.

World Tourism Organization, www.unwto.org