ABSTRACT

The right to leisure was recognised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948: Article 24). As a result of this, the right to tourism was proclaimed universal in the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO 1999). Although there are very important disparities worldwide in the access to and practice of these rights, it is unquestionable that recreation and tourism are key phenomena of our society and that they have global effects. The contribution of the tourism sector to global GDP and employment is estimated to be around 10%. The same percentage also applies to GDP and employment in the European Union; between 7.3 and 20.6 million jobs are directly and indirectly related to tourism (Leidner 2004). The number of tourists travelling internationally in 2008 reached 922 million (UNWTO 2009) and, according to the projections of the UNWTO (2001), this number is expected to reach 1.6 billion by 2020. In other words, assuming international tourism started only in the 1950s, projections of future growth in the sector suggest that international tourism arrivals will experience the same growth in 15 years as it had in the last 55 years (the 800 million benchmark was reached in 2005).