One billion tourists travelled the world so far this year, the UN World Tourism Organization said Thursday, urging them to buy local and respect their host cultures.
"Your actions count. That is our message to the one billion tourists," said UNWTO chief Taleb Rifai in Madrid, welcoming a British woman as the world's symbolic 1 billionth tourist of 2012.
"Through the right actions and choices, each tourist represents an opportunity for a fairer, more inclusive and more sustainable future."
Tourism now accounts for one in 12 jobs worldwide and nine percent of global economic activity, taking a larger share in many developing countries, the UN body said.
To multiply the positive impact of tourists' spending power, the organisation advised them to buy local food, souvenirs and services.
It also urged travellers to respect their host cultures, help protect heritage, save energy and use public transport, as the UNWTO released the top five travel tips according to a public survey.
Tourism has grown rapidly in recent decades, from 25 million trips worldwide in 1950, to 435 million in 1990, to one billion as of December 13 this year, the UNWTO says on its website.
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