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This month, we're featuring the United Nations World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) "One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities" campaign as our News for the Savvy Traveler. The campaign honors the one billionth tourist arriving somewhere in the world on December 13th. That's not the one billionth tourist ever; that's the one billionth tourist this year. It's hard to even imagine the implications of such a figure! What we do know is that travel has a cumulatively massive impact on the world, and it's critically important – now more than ever – for each and every one of us to do our part.
Every time you travel, you have the opportunity to make a real positive difference to the places you visit – both to the natural environment and the people who live there. Through simple actions like buying locally, taking public transportation, and booking with sustainable hotels and tour operators, you can not only mitigate the negative effects of your travel, but also have a beneficial impact on the community you're visiting. Here at SustainableTrip.org, we believe that's not just an opportunity – it's our responsibility to our planet and fellow human beings.
UNWTO is featuring a "Faces of the One Billion" photo album on their Facebook page where you can submit photos of your international travels from the past year. Send a photo of yourself on your trip to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet it to @UNWTO with the #1billtourists hashtag, and they'll upload the best ones to the Facebook album!
On the "One Billion Tourists, One Billion Opportunities" website, you can vote for which responsible travel tip you'll commit to (we hope you'll do more than one!): save energy, buy local, use public transport, protect heritage, and respect local culture. The UNWTO will announce the winning tip on December 13th, and you can share it on your social networks to help spread the word about responsible tourism to your family and friends.
Want more specific information on tourism trends, like when, where, and how many people are traveling? Check out the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer.