The travel and tourism market is showing its ability to bounce back and is expected to create millions of new jobs over the next several years, as demand is picking up.

By 2032, a huge proportion of new jobs will be created in the Asia-Pacific region, although more than 3 million are expected in the Middle East.

The global market's gross domestic product (GDP) could also return to 2019 levels by 2023, while annual GDP growth is set to average 5.8% between 2022 and 2032, outpacing the growth of the overall economy (2.7% per year), according to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The sector has been one of the worst-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 62 million jobs lost in 2020 alone. The job losses represented an 18.6% decline, with small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) being particularly affected alongside women, the young and minorities, according to WTTC. 

The sector also suffered losses of nearly $4.9 trillion, with its global contribution to GDP falling by 50.4% year-on-year, compared to a 3.3% decline of the global economy in 2020.

In its latest report, the industry body that has representatives from major travel and tourism businesses worldwide, said the sector started to pick up in 2021, with around 18.2 million jobs recovered, representing an increase of 6.7%.

Travel and tourism's contribution to GDP also jumped by $1 trillion or 21.7% in 2021 to reach $5.8 trillion. The sector's share of the whole economy also grew from 5.3% in 2020 to 6.1% in 2021.

"The future outlook is positive, and our sector is once again showing its resilience and ability to bounce back," Julia Simpson, President & CEO of WTTC, said in the report.

The report noted that within the next decade, the sector is expected to create nearly 126 million new jobs. Many of these new jobs will be concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region (64.8%) in general, and China (25.5%) and India (20.4%) in particular.

The Middle East region will account for 3.1% of the new jobs (3.9 million), while Africa will account for 11.8%.

However, Simpson highlighted that the sector needs the support from government leaders in order to achieve a "swift recovery".

"Governments need to focus on co-existing with COVID-19 while enhancing preparedness for future crises," she said.

Where will 126 million new jobs between 2022 and 2032 be created?

(Reporting by Cleofe Maceda; editing by Mily Chakrabarty)