The New Global Order: The Impact Of The COVID-19 Pandemic On Business The pandemic has led to an economic slowdown in some industries, while others have remained largely unaffected by the pandemic

By Naim Maadad

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Amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic, we have come across several videos and photographs of animals roaming free on the streets in different parts of the world, even as human beings have been advised to stay home. In the UAE, for instance, Arabian sand gazelles (also known as reem gazelles) were recently seen roaming the roads near The Greens area in Jebel Ali, Dubai. This was a sight to see, especially because the International Union for Conservation of Nature has declared the species to be vulnerable, with the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi noting that the biggest threats Arabian sand gazelles face are uncontrolled hunting and habitat degradation. But now, with the pandemic keeping the hunters at bay, these animals found the liberty to graze around without any inhibition. Mother Nature does have its own way to give back, it seems.

The coronavirus outbreak, which originated in China, has infected tens of thousands of people globally. There is no cure or vaccine yet to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, and the only way human beings can prevent themselves from being infected by it is by simply avoiding exposure to it. As such, the clear directive for people everywhere has been to follow a high degree of social distancing and personal hygiene measures, while also avoiding contact with any infected person. However, the worrisome factor is that in a majority of the infected people, there are absolutely no symptoms felt, and so they could be going around freely as carriers of the virus.

Related: Six Steps To A New Roadmap For Your Business To Recover From The COVID-19 Crisis

To reduce the high risks involved with the deeply contagious nature of the virus to spread easily, several countries and cities have been put into complete lockdowns, with quarantine measures being placed across their geography. This has definitely put huge restrictions on citizens to stay in their homes and not venture out, unless they have to buy food, medicine, or seek any emergency medical treatment assistance. While such directives are being taken in the right earnest to protect the lives of mankind, they are also leading to an economic slowdown in some industries, while others have remained largely unaffected by the pandemic. Here's a look at some of them:

1. Travel and tourism The travel and tourism industry has been hugely and deeply affected by the pandemic. The ban on flights imposed by many countries around the world has had a huge adverse impact on the travel business, and it's also affected the global tourism industry as a whole as well. Airlines are rapidly cutting and/or grounding flights, in addition to flight rates plummeting as more and more people decide not to travel during the pandemic. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates, global airlines may lose US$113 billion in sales if the pandemic continues to spread unabated. At the end of the year, airlines can have 11% to 19% loss in global passenger revenues, according to IATA.

Related: Reflections While #StayingHome: Takeaways From An Enterprise Shifting Gears For A Post COVID-19 World

3. Sports and entertainment As a direct result of the global pandemic, major sporting events like the Tokyo Olympics and others have been cancelled and moved to next year or beyond. The entertainment industry has also seen a huge impact by the pandemic, with many film productions that were on the making floor being stalled indefinitely. However, while cinema houses have been shut across the globe, an interesting development has been that video streaming companies, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Now, and others have gained new grounds, with them seeing a tremendous rise in the number of subscribers given the current environment.

4. Fitness Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a huge perception change in that public gymnasiums are a place where hygiene is not at its best, and that the use of such facilities can directly expose one to the virus. As such, fitness studios have been shutting their doors and adjusting to a new reality. But this sudden shift has inspired creativity and flexibility in people who run gyms and studios, which are usually largely dependent on physical locations and on-site teams. While some studios like SoulCycle have closed all of its locations globally, hoping to reopen when conditions improve, others like Modo Yoga are offering classes on online platforms like Instagram Live. Fitness instructors are also getting creative and upping their ante in terms of their offerings- for instance, startups are reaching out to professionals in the field to lead virtual workouts for their teams, which will allow for both a remote work-out and a sense of team bonding.

5. Infotech providers There have been several major tech-related conferences and events, including Google I/O, Mobile World Congress, Facebook F8 Developer Conference, South by South West, and Electronic Entertainment Expo, that have been cancelled or postponed as a direct result of the pandemic. At the same time, with work-from-home being a clear directive for employees everywhere, there have been many IT companies that are experiencing a steep hike in revenues during the crisis. Slack Technologies Inc. confirms that due to the global fallout from COVID-19, there has been a surge of interest in workplace-collaboration software. Another popular application has been Zoom, an enterprise video communication solution that has been rated as one of the most downloaded business apps in the US on Apple Store in the second week of March 2020, as per industry rating agencies. Microsoft Teams, TikTok, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. are all online platforms that have seen a huge growth in traffic. Such behavioral changes in mankind might be here to stay long beyond the pandemic- a new global order is here.

Related: Reflections While #StayingHome: Adjusting To The New Normal

Naim Maadad

Founder of Gates Hospitality

With over 38 years in the hospitality world across Australia, Asia, and the Middle East in various senior management roles, Naim Maadad has launched and operated some of the world’s best hotels, resorts, spas and lifestyle food and beverage Concepts. He has a wide spectrum of positions within senior leadership, including the role of Managing Director for both Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and The Anantara Group respectively. During his time with these exclusive properties, Maadad was instrumental in nurturing sound relationships with owners, securing the best possible locations, negotiating and formalizing contractual agreements, and appointing teams to infuse and reflect the ethos of the brands.

Being based in the Middle East for over 20 years, Maadad has witnessed tremendous industry growth, gained a deep cultural understanding and has been endorsed by principals and organizations alike. In 2010, he established Gates Hospitality, a homegrown hospitality company representing handpicked concepts catering for the affluent life-stylers, such as Ultra Brasserie, the internationally acclaimed concept, Reform Social & Grill Dubai, Folly by Nick & Scott, as well as Publique, Dubai's premier "Apres Ski chalet", The Lion by Nick & Scott, Bistro Des Arts, Six Senses Zighy Bay, Red Farm London at Covent Garden London, and Stokehouse which opened at Trump International Golf Course, DAMAC Hills, Dubai.


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