Tourism sector reaches new milestone to cement its place as one of the world’s economic powerhouses.
Mark the date: on Dec. 13, 2012, the one-billionth tourist arrived, a new record for international tourism. This groundbreaking number emphasizes the importance of tourism to the world’s economy, now accounting for one in every 12 jobs worldwide and 9% of global gross domestic product (GDP).
According to data released by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), global travellers spent more than one trillion dollars in 2011, and are on track to spend even more in 2012. In simple terms, that’s three billion dollars a day, or two million dollars every minute.
Tourism is an intensely competitive international marketplace, with countries constantly searching for an edge to give them a greater share of travellers and their dollars.
Tourism is big business for Canada and the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) has played its part in those numbers. Year-to-date September 2012, 13.3 million-plus international visitors have come to our country. Total tourism revenue was up 7.4% in 2011, reaching $78.8 billion, and more than 600,000 Canadians were employed as a direct result of tourism activities. The average spend per international traveller in this country per overnight trip last year was $1,400.
The UNWTO projects there will be 1.6 billion international travellers by 2020. To mark the one-billion milestone, UNWTO revealed that a British tourist visiting Madrid, Spain, was the symbolic face of the celebration. The event was the climax of UNWTO’s One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign, which demonstrated how tourism can create billions of opportunities for growth and development around the world.