MADRID, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Madrid, the capital of Spain, plays host to the International Tourism Trade Fair FITUR 2020 that opened at the IFEMA exhibition center on Wednesday. The event is open between Jan. 22 and Jan. 26.
The 40th edition of the fair, which was first held in 1981, comes at a time when the number of international travelers continues to rise. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) confirmed at a news conference held here on Monday that 2019 saw 1.5 billion people make international trips for their holidays (four percent more than in 2018) and a similar increase is expected for the current year.
However, sustainability continues to be an issue, which was extensively discussed during the recent COP25 Climate Conference also hosted by Madrid's IFEMA center. The conference participants heard that around five percent of all global carbon emissions are directly caused by tourism.
FITUR 2020 features 11,000-odd exhibitors and expects a quarter of a million visitors, among them 136,000 industry professionals, over the next five days.
The exhibition occupies 10 halls at IFEMA, with Africa given pride of place in Hall 1, while the Asia-Pacific region, which enjoyed a five percent growth in visitor numbers in 2019, is in Hall 6.
However, FITUR 2020 is not just about countries and regions promoting their attractions. It offers a venue for networking and for tour operators to look for new clients. The exhibition's FITUR CINE, FITUR FESTIVALS and FITUR HEALTH sections focus on specific areas of the tourism market.
The increasing role of technology is recognized in the FITURTECHY and FITUR KNOW-HOW sections, which aim to highlight how technology can be used to promote the better management of destinations and thus make them more sustainable -- something that is vital for the future growth of the sector.