1 Billion Tourists 1 Billion Opportunities

1 Billion Tourists 1 Billion Opportunities


Every time we travel, for whatever reason, we are part of a global movement; a movement that has the power to drive inclusive development, create jobs and build the sustainable societies we want for our future; a movement that builds mutual understanding and can help us safeguard our shared natural and cultural heritage.

This year on 27 September, we want you to talk Tourism. Help us raise awareness of the important impact tourism has on countries and communities around the world and its potential as a force for good, creating a better world for all.

1 billontourists#1billiontourists #WTD2015

Celebrated each year on 27 September, the purpose of World Tourism Day is to foster awareness among the international community of the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. The event seeks to address global challenges outlined by the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and to highlight the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching these goals.

Official Messages on World Tourism Day

Message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

This year´s World Tourism Day highlights the global potential of tourism for socio-economic development.  With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people.

The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable.  As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.

As tourism revolves around encounters between different peoples, the sector can foster multicultural understanding and raise awareness on the need to preserve cultural and natural heritage.

As the world prepares to adopt a new sustainable development agenda, tourism should be recognized for its ability to create jobs, promote local culture and products and champion the conservation and sustainable use of marine and terrestrial habitats.

Let us work together to maximize the immense potential of tourism to drive inclusive economic growth, protect the environment and promote sustainable development and a life of dignity for all.

Message by UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai

This year´s World Tourism Day is an opportunity to celebrate the transformative potential of one billion tourists.

Today, more than one billion tourists travel to an international destination every year. These billion tourists have made tourism a leading economic sector, contributing 10% of global GDP and 6% of the world´s total exports.  

Yet these big numbers represent more than just economic strength – they reflect tourism´s vast potential and increasing capacity to address some of the world´s most pressing challenges, including socio-economic growth, inclusive development and environmental preservation.

As a sector behind as many as one in eleven jobs worldwide, tourism is a valuable source of livelihood for millions of people. Built around the millions of cross-cultural encounters happening every day in different corners of the world, tourism is also a gateway to greater understanding of the world beyond our borders, the first step in building peace and between communities and nations.

Tourism is more than just about reaching a destination – tourism has a global reach. Every time we travel, we become part of a global movement that has the power to drive positive change for our planet and all people.

This 27th of September, let us celebrate the value of the “One Billion Tourists” and work together in making tourism a true instrument of opportunity and inclusion. Let us all turn the power of one billion into a genuine force for good. 

Message by Mr. Jean-Claude Dioma, Minister of Culture and Tourism of Burkina Faso 

In 2012, international tourist arrivals crossed the symbolic threshold of one billion for the first time, and forecasts estimate that the two billion mark will be reached by 2030.

These constantly increasing figures make tourism one of the global economy’s most dynamic sectors.

Tourism has demonstrated its capacity to increase competitiveness, create job opportunities, stem the rural exodus, generate revenues and reinforce the sense of pride and self-esteem within communities. 

With its cross-cutting nature, tourism affects virtually all areas of economic activity and has a strong influence on other sectors such as agriculture, construction, handicrafts, trade and especially transport services.

The theme of for this edition of World Tourism Day reminds us of the opportunities offered by the tourism sector for the promotion of new socioeconomic prospects and better livelihoods for communities.

The tourism sector, more than just an opportunity, is certainly a flourishing sector that harbours a billion opportunities for the economic and sociocultural development of our destinations. One billion tourists can become a major source of well-being and sustainable development for the entire planet—one billion opportunities for progress and poverty eradication, especially for developing countries.

Tourism Stories

It can be easy to get caught up in the big picture. One billion tourists, 10% of the world’s GDP, exports of 1.5 US$ trillion annually and one in eleven jobs in the globe. But all of these numbers represent people just like you and me. Chefs, sommeliers, artisans, attendants, tuk-tuk drivers, tour guides, guest house owners, hotel gardeners, travel app developers, dive masters or traditional dance instructors, every day each of these people, and millions more, engage with tourists from around the globe, encouraging intercultural exchange and sustainable development in their communities.

These two editions of the Tourism Stories book invite readers to enter their worlds and to gain personal insight into how their lives and that of their communities have been shaped by tourism. They show us how an individual´s work has the ability to creatively unlock community value chains, proudly inspire the empowerment of women and revitalize history and traditions of the past to set the foundations for the future.

Created by UNWTO to remind us of the heartbeats behind the tourism statistics, the books capture voices of tourism from countries across the globe – the people who, each and every day, wake to work in the sector, playing their part, making their impact, and sharing their story. We invite you to join us on this journey and live each story with each storyteller, celebrated, one by one.

Tourism Stories Part IIMy Story, My Community, Our Future

Tourism Stories Part I: How Tourism Enriched My Life