The fact that King Juan Carlos opened Madrid’s 27th international tourism fair on Wednesday is testament to the importance of the industry to the Spanish economy. Tourism is an “essential instrument” to develop cooperation and mutual knowledge between all the countries on the planet, the king said at the opening ceremony.
This year the focus is on sustainable tourism, quality, new technology and diverse destinations. Iran is exhibiting at FITUR for the first time.
The UN World Tourism Organisation recently expressed a wish to apply a guide to good behaviour to the sector in a bid to develop ethical tourism and to promote its role in sustainable development.
The trade fair, which runs from Jan. 31 to Feb. 4, draws exhibitors from 170 countries, receive some 250,000 visitors and brings together more than 13,000 businesses.
According to Spanish media it is the second biggest after Berlin’s equivalent event.
Some 20 percent of the exhibitors at FITUR are from Latin America, covering a range of travel themes, from archaeology to adventure travel.
Tourism accounts for 15.5 percent of the gross domestic product and some 12 percent of the jobs in Spain, Industry, Tourism and Trade Minister Joan Clos said at the inauguration ceremony.