By Lee Hae-rin
An average of 49,000 new jobs will be created in the country's travel and tourism sector over the next decade, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said on Monday.
The latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) by WTTC released in May shows that about half a million jobs will be created in the next ten years and will reach a total of 1.8 million by 2032, outpacing other sectors in the economy.
According to the report, the nation's GDP in travel and tourism is expected to grow at a yearly average rate of 4.8 percent in the coming decade, which is significantly higher than the country's overall growth forecast of 1.8 percent.
Such growth is supposed to yield 116.9 trillion won ($89.5 billion), occupying 4.6 percent of the country's economy.
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country's tourism industry contributed 4.4 percent, or 87.5 trillion won ($67 billion) to the country's GDP and provided 1.3 million jobs.
However, the pandemic devastated the sector, nearly halving its GDP and economic contribution to 2.7 percent with 54.2 trillion won.
In 2021, its contribution to the GDP climbed by a mere 3 percent year-on-year, to reach nearly?55.9 trillion won. Next year, the figure is expected to grow back to 83.4 trillion won, which is only 4.7 percent behind the pre-pandemic level.
"After the devastating impact the pandemic caused to South Korea's travel & tourism sector, the future looks bright for the economy," WTTC?President and CEO Julia Simpson said.
"We applaud the government for easing travel restrictions, a move that will no doubt have a positive effect and recover millions of jobs. However, pre-departure testing is no longer required in many countries around the world and we urge the government here to follow the lead and allow travelers to move freely once again," Simpson said.