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Protecting Holidays Forever: Climate Change and the Tourism Industry

Tourism and International Relations
Rosaleen Duffy
Melanie Stroebel

On 13 December 2012, the Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy and Tour- ism; the Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); and the Mayor of Madrid welcomed a symbolic one billionth tour- ist to the Spanish capital. The event marked a record number in international tourist arrivals, which experienced a 40-fold increase over 62 years, from only 25 million arrivals in 1950. It formed part of UNWTO’s “One billion tourists: One billion opportunities” initiative aimed at highlighting the economic, social, and environmental benefits of tourism. During the celebrations, Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of UNWTO, remarked:

The one-billionth tourist, Mrs. Dale Sheppard-Floyd from the United Kingdom, is visiting Spain for three days. During that time she will experience a new culture, meet new people, support the local economy and help to sustain the jobs of waiters, tour guides, and many more working in tourism, as well as of all those whose jobs are indirectly linked to tourism such as taxi drivers, food producers, or shop attendees. If we multiply this impact by one billion, we begin to understand the enormous significance of reaching this milestone.