MADRID-World Tourism Day, which will take place tomorrow, 27th September, will focus on raising awareness within the international community of the important role that tourism plays within the social, cultural, political and economic realms. In Spain, Tourism Day will coincide with the preparations for the International Tourism Trade Fair, FITUR 2015, which is organised by IFEMA. This trade fair constitutes one of the largest trade showcases for the world tourist industry. It is also the emblematic global event that inaugurates the international trade fair calendar for the tourist industry, taking place between 28th January and 1st February at FERIA DE MADRID.
World Tourism Day will seek to help address the worldwide challenges set out in the United Nations It will also highlight the strong contribution that tourism can make in terms of fulfilling these goals. These development goals coincide in good part with those pursued by FITUR, the trade fair organised by IFEMA that will be staging its thirty-fifth event on this occasion. FITUR constantly updates its exhibition in order to adapt to the industry's needs and prepare all of the tools required for the tourist industry to have its own special business forum at which to develop and implement its strategies.
The important role played by tourism in Spain is confirmed by the figures furnished by FRONTUR, the Spanish Inbound Tourism Border Survey. Thus, during the first half of the year 2014, Spain welcomed some 28 million foreign tourists, which represents an increase of 7.3% compared to the same period last year. Alongside these figures, we might also highlight the significant increase in the number of foreign tourist arrivals. Thus, over the first six months of the year Spain witnessed total growth of 4.6% under this heading compared to the same period the previous year. These trends attest to the favourable performance of Spain's leading industry, a fact that was also reflected at the last staging of FITUR, which enjoyed some excellent participation figures: more than 9,000 companies and nearly 220,000 participants.
. Shared Goals: Tourism and Community Development
The theme chosen for World Tourism Day this year, "Tourism and Community Development", reflects the tourist industry's potential when it comes to generating new socio-economic opportunities at a local level, whilst also highlighting the decisive role that tourism plays in terms of boosting sustainable community development. In short, sustainability and innovation encompass most of the key values entailed by tourism development and, in turn, entailed by FITUR's strategic approach. In this respect, FITUR provides a unique opportunity to raise awareness of the goals promoted by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation through its staging of World Tourism Day 2014, based on the trade fair's staging of different specialised sections that revolve around the ideas of sustainability and innovation, two key pillars of the tourist industry.
FITUR's most important sections in this sense include the following: FITUR KNOW HOW & EXPORT, promoted by SEGITTUR and focusing on pioneering solutions under the heading of tourism management and foreign promotion; FITURTECH, which concentrates on the latest tourism technologies and applications; and FITURGREEN, with its range of energy-saving and efficiency solutions for hotel and tourism management. Neither must we forget to mention INVESTOUR Africa, a forum organised jointly by the UNWTO and Casa Africa, which seeks to promote investment in African tourism projects.
As a new feature, at its 35th event, FITUR will also present FITUR SHOPPING alongside its habitual sections. Organised in collaboration with Madrid Shopping Tour, this initiative seeks to cater for the growing importance of shopping tourism within the worldwide tourist industry. At the same time, FITUR SALUD will seek to promote health tourism in Spain through the auspices of the cluster known as Spaincares.
UNWTO’s World Tourism Day 2014 video is now available on Vimeo. All those interested in learning more about the initiative can view the video by clicking on the link below: