Please introduce yourself & tell us your thoughts on the key opportunities and learnings in the past year?
Hello. How are you? I'm Martin Berlin, and I'm leading the real estate, hospitality and leisure practise for PricewaterhouseCoopers here in the Middle East. We're looking back at an unprecedented and perhaps unpredictable time. Unpredictable? No, it hasn't been unpredictable. As Bill Gates already said in his TED talk in 2015, and here I quote, "Today the greatest risk of a global catastrophe looks like this." And then he showed a picture of a virus and continued. "If anything kills more than 10 million people over the next decade, it is most likely to be a highly infectious virus." Who would have thought that he is so right just five years later. We are currently looking at COVID statistics of 3.8 million deaths and 180 million infections on a global scale. This is really mind-boggling. And how will we continue? There's very often the talk about the post-COVID world and the pre-COVID world. But is there going to be a post-COVID world that we return to the pre-COVID world? No, I don't think though. I think there will only be, a with COVID world, whereby COVID stands for the virus, the pandemic. In the world of travel, tourism, globalisation, logistics, international exchange like we see on a global scale, pandemics are here to stay. On the other hand, what we also saw is the great resilience and innovation that sits in the hospitality and tourism industry. We have seen tech coming up. We're now looking at touchless F&B offering, touchless hotels. We have seen hygiene concepts being developed and implemented in a matter of weeks. You have seen new adjustments in the tourism industry in the airline industry, in the hospitality industry that all adapted to the new situation of the virus being there and that is great. And AHIC will be the opportunity to reconnect also and hopefully in person with the industry, with the people to share the experience of the past 18 months to share what the measures are, what the innovations are and to discuss how the with COVID world going forward is going to look like. And I'm very much looking forward to meeting you all later this year at AHIC and until then, stay safe, stay healthy and meet you there. Thank you