King Felipe of Spain opened the International Tourism Trade Fair in Madrid on Wednesday.
His country is enjoying record visitor numbers, but this event showcases destinations worldwide as well as boosting the host city’s finances.
Our correspondent Carlos Marlasca said: “This event is expected to generate around 240 million euros for the city of Madrid. It’s the second most important tourism fair in the world after Berlin. The opening day saw intense activity by travel industry professionals, the only ones initially allowed access to the venue, before the public are let in at the weekend.”
Close to a quarter of a million people are expected before the fair closes on January 22, checking out over 9,000 stalls from 165 countries and regions represented.
There is a special focus on sustainable tourism from the UN’s World Tourism Organisation.
Taleb Rifai, General Secretary of World Tourism Organisation, told Euronews: “The main objective is to study and raise awareness of the importance and the impact that tourism has on life today. Travel and tourism have become very, very important human activities, and people don’t really know much about it. The second objective, which is equally important, is how to change this human activity into a force for good, a positive for people and the planet.”
Forty six million more tourists travelled internationally last year compared to 2015, with increased wear and tear on the planet which is why this has been declared the Year of Sustainable Development Tourism.
The UN expects the number of travellers choosing “eco-friendly” destinations to rise by about a third over last year.
Taleb Rifai, from
UNWTO</a>, presents at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FITUR2017?src=hash">#FITUR2017</a> The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/sustainabletourism?src=hash">#sustainabletourism</a> #2017 <a href="https://t.co/wYAhckhc68">pic.twitter.com/wYAhckhc68</a></p>— Fitur (fitur_madrid) January 18, 2017