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Happy World Tourism Day 2019 – This logistical masterpiece is behind (air) travel

The increasingly globalized world is opening up opportunities for societies and individuals that not so long ago were considered a futuristic thought experiment. However, humans have already become accustomed to most of the amenities that an open world brings with it. (Air) travel is one of these comforts. It is enough to be equipped with a mobile phone and a credit card – that’s all it takes to organize a trip, no matter where you go. The flight has been booked via the app, the accommodation has already been reserved for holiday apartments via a community marketplace and the route for the city tour has been marked out on Google Maps. Only a few clicks – or so it feels – separate us from our next trip.

The busiest day since the beginning of air travel

But today, on World Tourism Day 2019, we want to pause for a moment, reflect and appreciate what a logistical masterpiece is actually behind all this. This year’s World Tourism Day is under the motto “Tourism and Jobs”: According to the World Tourism Organization UNWTO, the aim is to focus on the often underestimated role of tourism as a job engine. One in ten jobs worldwide is accounted for by tourism. This manpower is also needed to coordinate 205,468 flights in just one day – that’s how many passenger planes took off last year on the busiest day of the year, July 13, 2018. All passengers who flew on this day fill a total of 36 Olympic stadiums (2.7 million people) – a world record. By 2035, experts predict a total of 40,000 aircraft that will be in the air at the same time – more than twice as many as the current record.

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All these approximately 200,000 flights covered a total of over 3 million kilometers. That’s a distance as far as from the Earth to the moon and all the way back again – 4,000 times. The longest flight in 2018 was around 14,000 kilometers – from Los Angeles to Singapore. Our editorial team came across the following infographic, which visualizes these and other figures and provides other exciting, entertaining airport and travel data:

More about travel at Horizn Studios.

Infographic uses current travel data to show what's going on at airports and tourism within a year

The graphic makes it clear that not everything always works as smoothly as passengers might like. There are some delays, flight cancellations, suitcases get lost or other annoying things happen that spoil the holiday mood a bit. However, given the numbers listed here, it is almost a miracle that flying is such a reliable and efficient way to travel. It may help to think about how many flights have already taken off on time in the past when a large “delay” appears in red lettering on the display board at the gate.

Happy World Tourism Day!