The future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19

UNWTO Webinar - The future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19: Middle East Insights

As the hospitality industry resumes operations, it has been the moment to adapt, redesign and implement new ways and ideas to help the sector accelerate recovery and reinvent the hospitality of tomorrow.

What are the most prominent trends in hospitality today and what will the new customers’ demands be? How are hotels adapting their business operations to receive travellers and go back to business but still remaining sustainable? What are the best ways to gain guests' confidence back? What is the role of technology in the process? These and more topics will be discussed in this webinar on the future of the hospitality sector post COVID-19, focusing in the Middle East region.

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.

Sandra Carvao
Sandra Carvão
Chief, Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness, UNWTO

Sandra Carvão is Chief of Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness at the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) since June 2018. Before that, she was Chief of Communications and Publications for 8 years until May 2018 where she was responsible for UNWTO’s strategic positioning.

Prior to this post, Sandra was Deputy Chief at UNWTO’s Market Trends, Competitiveness and Trade in Tourism Services Department between 2007 and 2010. During this period, Sandra coordinated the Tourism Resilience Committee created by UNWTO to address the impacts of the global economic crisis 2008-2009 on tourism. Prior to joining UNWTO in 2003, Sandra held a position as market manager in the Portuguese National Tourist Office in Lisbon. Sandra has a degree in International Relations, Economics Branch, by the Instituto de Ciências Sociais e Políticas/Universidade Técnica de Lisboa and a postgraduade degree in Marketing by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Philip Wooller

Philip Wooller

Area Director, Middle East & Africa, STR

Philip Wooller is Area Director, Middle East and Africa for STR based in Dubai and is responsible for STR’s expansion throughout Middle East & Africa. As well as developing the range and depth of hospitality data, Philip also works closely with Owners, Operators, Consultants and Investors. Philip has spent many years in hospitality in Europe and the Middle East and his career combines the unique blend of senior positions in hotel operations and management, sales, marketing and revenue management in a variety of branded and independent hotels.

Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat
Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat
Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board

He is the leader in positioning and promoting Jordan as the destination of choice in international markets.

Prior to his position at the Jordan Tourism Board, Dr. Arabiyat filled the position of Finance Department Director at the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission as well as previously holding that position and the position of Director of Administrative Affairs at the Commission simultaneously.

Preceding that, Dr. Arabiyat worked in several ministerial positions including; Serving in the Financial Department at the Ministry of Planning before moving on to becoming the Head of Auditing as well as Financial Manager at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities before moving on to becoming the Financial & Administrative Manager for the Tourism Development Project ( JICA)

Dr. Arabiyat holds a PHD in Finance from the Amman Arab University for Graduate Studies, a Masters degree in Banking and Financial Science from the Arab Academy for Banking and Financial Science and a BA in Public Administration and Political Science from the University of Jordan.

Ed Kastli
Ed Kastli
Channel Vice President, International Sales, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute

Ed Kastli joined the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute in October of 2009.

Established in 1953 as the non-profit education and training arm of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) representing the U.S. hotel industry with over 25,000 member hotel properties, AHLEI ’s mission is to be the preferred provider of quality resources to educate, develop, and certify hospitality educators , students , and professionals worldwide.

AHLEI became part of the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in 2017, connecting and leveraging the resources of two trade organizations that are deeply committed to a vision of career success and upward mobility for current and future hospitality, restaurant and foodservice employees.

As the Vice President of International at AHLEI, Kastli oversees and leads the organization’s international team and partner structure which comprises regional managers/directors and Affiliates/Licensees operating in 100+ countries globally, to further company’s nonprofit mission and make available its hospitality training and educational programs to benefit a maximum of academic institutions , students and hotel professionals worldwide , with a special passion and dedication for implementing sustainable capacity building and workforce development projects funded by USAID, OAS, World Bank, IDB and GIZ in developing countries and emerging tourism destinations.

He holds an M.B.A. in International Marketing Research from Montclair State University in New Jersey as well as a Certified Master Hotelier Supplier (CMHS) and Certified Guest Service Professional (CGSP) designations with AHLEI.

As a bi-national, (Tunisian-American) Kastli splits his time between his residences in Orlando, Florida and Tunis, Tunisia.

Val Anthony
Val Anthony
Senior Manager, Global Strategic Insights, TripAdvisor

Val Anthony is the Sr. Manager of Global Strategic Insights at Tripadvsior, the #1 travel site in the world. Val has been in the travel industry for 10+ years, working with some of the largest hotel chains and online travel agencies across the globe. Her experience stems from a passion for debunking human behavior, especially when it comes to travel-based decision making. Some of Val’s most recent work has focused on domestic travel recovery and traveler priority shifts.

Val holds a degree in Communications and Culture, with a focus in Sociology from Clark University.

Kevin Hemsworth
Kevin Hemsworth
Doctor in Tourism Management at the European University / ISCTE – Lisbon and Hotels Expert

Graduated in Hotel Management at the Porto Hotel and Tourism School of Portugal Tourism, Graduated in in Business Sciences from the Institute of Languages and Administration of Gaia, Master in Health Services Management and Economics from the Faculty of Economics of Porto, Specialist Hotel and Restaurant at ESHT - School of Tourism and Hospitality at the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and is Doctor Tourism Management at the European University / ISCTE - Lisbon.

Worked for 20 years in Accor Group, of which 15 years as a hotel manager, having developed projects in the Food & Beverage and commercial areas, performed as an ISO 9001 Auditor for the Ibis Chain in Portugal. He was also an entrepreneur in the area of health service provision.

Professor in the Degree in Management - Hospitality Management branch and is a Professor in the Degree in Hospitality Management both at the Portucalense University, taught at the Higher School of Hospitality and Tourism of the Polytechnic Institute of Porto, and presently still teaches in schools of Portugal Tourism and ISAG Hotel Management degrees in Porto. Also performs as consultant and trainer in the area of hospitality in general, accommodation and catering for industry associations and national companies.

Has performed as consultant for missions of UNWTO - World Tourism Organization specializing in the classification of hotel units and performance audits.

Natalia Bayona
Natalia Bayona
Senior Expert on Innovation and Digital Transformation, UNWTO

Natalia Bayona is the leader of the Innovation and Digital Transformation Strategy of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Natalia Bayona holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from the Universidad Externado de Colombia and an Executive MBA from IE Business School. She is part of the World Economic Forum network as a European Digital Leader for IE Business School.

In 2017, she served as the Vice President of International Development for the Spain Startup - South Summit. Natalia organized the first South Summit Pacific Alliance, connecting the main stakeholders of the entrepreneurship ecosystem of Colombia, Chile, Mexico and Peru.

In 2016, she began her ten year tenure in ProColombia, during which she has lived in six countries where she has developed strategies that boost export, foreign investment and tourism for Colombia.

Preliminary Programme

Tuesday, 18 August 2020 (12.00 – 13.00 CET)
12:00 – 12:05

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

12:05 – 12:15

Introduction and moderation by Sandra Carvao, Chief, Tourism Market Intelligence and Competitiveness, UNWTO

12:15 – 12:30

Setting the scene: Current Trends in the Hospitality Industry in the Middle East

  • Philip Wooller, Area Director Middle East & Africa, STR
12:30 – 13:20

Sharing Experiences Debate

  • Abed Al Razzaq Arabiyat, Managing Director of Jordan Tourism Board
  • Ed Kastli, Channel Vice President, International Sales, American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute
  • Val Anthony, Senior Manager, Global Strategic Insights, TripAdvisor
  • Kevin Hemsworth, Doctor in Tourism Management at the European University / ISCTE – Lisbon and Hotels Expert


13:20 – 13:30

UNWTO Hospitality Challenge by Natalia Bayona, Senior Expert on Innovation and Digital Transformation, UNWTO

Category tags