The deep impact of COVID-19 on tourism from a statistical perspective

The deep impact of COVID-19 on tourism from a statistical perspective

Date: Monday, 24 August 2020
Time: 12.00 – 13.30 CET
Language: English

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Being fundamentally reliant on the mobility of people, it is no surprise that tourism is one of the hardest hit sectors in the Covid-19 crisis. However, do we really know the effects that this situation is having on tourism in all its dimensions? Do we understand the effects that the reduction of tourism activity is having on economies, societies and the environment? Certainly there is data, data everywhere, but not all of it is equally well placed to answer these questions—especially not when we wish to benchmark or gain trust.

Covid-19 has also shown just how important sustainability is. In a world where our economies, our societies, and our environment were more narrowly intertwined than ever, the spread and the effects of the virus rapidly became pervasive. Tourism is by definition embedded in our economies and in our societies, it relies on our environment which it can help protect or degrade.

High level experts will discuss the impacts of the global pandemic not only on tourism activity per se, but also on the nature of the statistical activities that are necessary to properly measure the main aspects of tourism at the national and international levels, in the short, medium and long-term.

Minutes of UNWTO Webinar: The Deep Impact of COVID-19 on Tourism from a Statistical Perspective


Basmah Al-Mayman
Basmah Al-Mayman
Regional Director for the Middle East, UNWTO

Basmah Al-Mayman is the Regional Director for the Middle East, since November 1st, 2018. Prior to this post, and as one of the founders of tourism in Saudi Arabia, Al-Mayman focused on developing and strengthening Saudi Relations with International organizations such as United Nations (UN) agencies and World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, as well as other international organizations and stakeholders in the fields of tourism, heritage, museums, antiquities, and built heritage. With over 17 years of experience in the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), Al-Mayman was the manager of the International Organizations & Committees Department and the (UNWTO) focal point.

Under her mandate, Saudi Arabia hit a historic record in the UNWTO Academy ´s history in being the highest concentration of Education and Training activities carried out in a single Member State.

Forbes Middle East published a 2020 “power list” ranking 100 businesswomen who are at the top of their game, with Al-Mayman ranking 13th and the only woman representing tourism in the Arab world, that has garnered a position in this prestigious classification, and she is also the first woman to lead the Middle East region in the history of this international organization.

Al-Mayman holds an MBA from Al Faisal University, in cooperation with the University of Oxford, where she studied Entrepreneurship and Comparative Managerial Issues. She also has a Bachelor degree in English Literature and Linguistics from King Saud University, and studied several advanced specialized courses in International Relations at Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute of Diplomatic Studies at the Foreign Ministry in Saudi Arabia.

Hernán Epstein
Hernán Epstein
Chief Statistics, UNWTO

Hernán Epstein is the Chief of the Department of Statistics at UNWTO. He holds a MSc in Statistics from the University of British Columbia and has over 10 years of experience working on statistics at the national and international levels. He has previously worked in Statistics Canada, UN-ECLAC and UNODC.


Suad Said Al Izki

Suad Said Al Izki

Director of Geographical, Environmental, Tourism and Energy Statistics Department, GCC-Stat

She Earned a Bachelor in Statistics and Operations Research from Kuwait University in 2002.

She joined GCCSTAT in 2013; previously she worked in the Ministry Higher Education, Sultanate of Oman.

Faisal Al Saleemi
Faisal Al Saleemi
Information Department Manager, Tourism Information & Research Center, Saudi Arabia

Faisal Al Saleemi has over 18 years in the tourism sector in general, tourism statistics, tourism satellite accounts (TSA), tourism market research, and tourism industry research in specific. He is working in Planning Department at Ministry of Tourism. In addition, he has a great experience in managing the tourism surveys (Inbound, Domestic, and Outbound) in addition to the tourism establishment surveys. Moreover, Faisal provided consulting services to tourism organizations in the GCC region on tourism statistics capacity development. He co-authored a paper entitled ” Measuring Multi-Destination Visits – A case study of Saudi Arabia” which had been presented at the 2nd International Seminar on Regional Tourism- Venice in 2014. Since 2010, he represents Ministry of Tourism in the international and regional conferences and events on tourism statistics and TSA. More recently, Faisal becomes a member in the UNWTO Committee on Statistics and TSA within the Working Group of Experts on Measuring Sustainable Tourism as a representative of Ministry of Tourism Saudi Arabia.

Preliminary Programme

Monday, 24 August 2020 (12.00 – 13.30 CET)
12:00 – 12:05

Welcome by Basmah Al-Mayman, Regional Director for the Middle East, UNWTO

12:05 – 12:20

The global perspective: Hernán Epstein, Chief of Statistics, UNWTO

12:20 – 12:40

The regional perspective in the Middle East: Suad Al Izki, Director of Geographical, Environmental, Tourism and Energy Statistics Department, GCC-Stat

12:40 – 13:00

The national perspective, an example from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Faisal Al-Saleemi, Ministry of Tourism of Saudi Arabia.

13:00 – 13:30

Q&A and open discussion

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