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UNWTO welcomes the world’s one-billionth tourist

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A British tourist visiting Madrid, Spain on December 13, 2012 has been revealed as the symbolic face of the one billion international tourists travelling in 2012. The tourist was welcomed by José Manuel Soria, minister of Industry, Energy and Tourism of Spain, Taleb Rifai, UNWTO secretary-general, 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.

“Today, we welcome the symbolic arrival of the one-billionth tourist,” said Rifai. “The one-billionth tourist, 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.”

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.

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