By Kaitlin Dunn, Writer, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
On June 17, hospitality revenue optimization professionals from around the world will participate in HSMAI’s virtual ROC@Home experience. Presented by HSMAI regions in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East, ROC@Home will feature more than 20 experts presenting live sessions, including four economists — one in each of the regions — who will share their outlook for their part of the world and how coronavirus has changed their predictions for the year.
HSMAI is contacting each of the economists prior to ROC@Home to get a preview of their presentation. Mohamed Abu Basha, director and head of economics and research at EFG Hermes Holding, will be giving a presentation for the Middle East region. Here is what he had to say:
Can you give a brief overview of your presentation?
My presentation will focus on the implications of the double-whammy of COVID-19 and lower oil prices on the Middle Eastern economies, particularly focusing on the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] economies. This is the second oil pricing shock in the last five years with some significant implications on businesses and consumers. I’ll try to portray the challenges and what they mean for the wider economy, including the hospitality sector, as well as provide some insights about how governments will react to these shocks.
How have your predictions changed in the past month to two months?
There haven’t been many changes to key economic variables since early May, as the size of the shock was largely clear. This does not mean that numbers won’t be revisited soon, but more so in the summer when we have a better assessment on how economies are reacting to the opening up.
How are you tailoring your presentation for this audience of hospitality revenue professionals?
I’m planning on mainly focusing on implications on the hospitality sector, in particular how purchasing power of customers would be implicated by the recent measures.
What is unique about the economic outlook for your region, compared to the other regions of the world?
The Middle East, in particular the GCC economies, is unique in the fact that they’re facing a double shock really, not just one. COVID-19 and lower oil prices together are big shocks posing mounting challenges to policymakers. This is more so when considering that this is the second oil price shock in nearly five to six years.
Why are you passionate about economics?
How can one not be? It’s a job that allows you to have a much wider thinking about how the world functions. Analyzing the macro provides insights about key indicators that shape performance of businesses. Analysis is then extended to the micro level, looking at businesses and how they behave and get implicated by the micro. You think about consumers and how they react and behave, which in many cases are not straightforward trends. Finally, the job gets more exciting when you do this for many countries in different continents, providing you with unparalleled exposure.
Learn more about ROC@Home and how to take part at www.hsmairoc.org