Have you celebrated a “first” business trip yet? I ask because it’s definitely a reflection of business travel’s steady return to see the ever-growing number of social media posts on just that topic. People are talking. And so are we.
As an association of industry professionals, it’s so important for all of us to re-share the public testimony on the value and purpose of face-to-face collaboration – for launching strategic projects, building relationships, advancing learning and fostering culture.
We’ve also just kicked off a critical refresh of our annual GTBA Business Travel Index. More timely now than ever, the index will quantify what you, your organizations and policies say about the steady return of business travel from even more sources this year. Look for the results at November’s Convention.
For my part, I’m making it a point to turn as many meet-and-greet video calls into a chance for in-real-life (IRL) coffees or lunches. And next week, several of our GBTA team (and many whom I’ve not yet met in person!) will come together at our Alexandria, Virginia headquarters. We’re gathering for the GBTA Midyear Virtual Summit and Annual Business Meeting – bringing it to you virtually while we are live and in-person together. We’ll also have a guest of honor joining us – Dave Hilfman, former interim executive director for GBTA – for his first IRL meeting of the team whom he so ably led through our months of transition last year. (We’re looking forward to seeing you, Dave!)
And next week, I’ll tell you more about a meeting we’re having Friday with the office of EU Ambassador to the U.S., Stavros Lambrinidis, who has been vocal in pushing the U.S. to issue reciprocal agreements for incoming, safe international travel. We continue to advocate for the entire industry on these important travel-restart policies.
And finally to cap off today’s Check-in, where do we stand on my challenge of two weeks ago, encouraging more voter participation in the Board of Directors election? With a stated goal for 25% of eligible members to cast a ballot, today I’m pleased to share that we stand at 24% – with one week to go until voting closes. Thanks for supporting the 24 candidates who’ve put their names and platforms forward for these important board seats. And cast your vote by July 19!
News to Know
GBTA Continues to Push Canadian, U.S. Governments Ahead of July 21 Border Review
Despite continued positive signs in both countries – including increased vaccination numbers, dramatically improved infection rates and a greater understanding of COVID treatments – the Trudeau Government and Biden Administration have yet to offer specific plans on re-opening non-essential travel. GBTA is taking action, but we need your help! All Canadians and Americans are encouraged to sign this letter that will be delivered to your respective government. Please also send it to your networks and help us amplify this critical message. The deadline for signatures is July 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Coalition Pressures U.S. Government to Reopen International Travel by July 15
GBTA and other groups in the coalition are asking the government to take immediate steps to open travel between the U.S. and other areas like Canada, the U.K. and the EU, estimating that travel restrictions are costing the U.S. economy at least $1.5 billion in spending each week.
England – Effective July 19, Some Travelers No Longer Need to Quarantine
The UK announced that beginning next week fully vaccinated travelers returning to England from countries on the amber list will no longer need to self-isolate. Travel groups, including GBTA, continue to advocate for the government to exempt all fully vaccinated travelers from quarantine requirements.
Glimmers of Hope in LATAM
Copa Airlines, the flagship carrier of Panama, announced it has recovered more than 70% of its destinations between June and July. The company sites vaccine tourism to the U.S., the summer season in the northern hemisphere and the relaxation of restrictions as reasons for the recovery.
Group Calls for Postponing Canada Election Until Plan is Set for Reopening Borders
In one of its strongest moves yet, the Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable – of which GBTA is a member – is publicly urging the government to hold off on elections until a comprehensive plan to reopen the Canada-U.S. border is released. This is important because once an election campaign is announced, government leaders must refrain from making significant decisions related to policy, spending or appointments, which could freeze any progress on border openings.
GBTA News & Reminders
One Week Left to Vote!
All eligible members who hadn’t yet voted received a voting link from Election Services on July 8. If you haven’t yet voted, please do so today. And remember… All voters will be eligible to win opportunities to invest further in their membership! If you have questions or need assistance, contact Shane Downey ([email protected]) or Election Services Corp. ([email protected] or +1-866-720-4357).
July 20 – GBTA Mid-Year Virtual Summit and Annual Business Meeting
Don’t miss one of the most important meetings of the summer. During this important session, you’ll not only hear the results of the above-mentioned Board of Directors election and an Association update, but you can participate in valuable education sessions across three tracks: Crisis Recovery, Operational Excellence and The Future of Travel. It’s just one week away, so register today!
GBTA Mexico Conference 2021 Will Be Virtual
While we had hoped this conference could be held in person, uncertainty remains in the Latin American region. So, we have decided to push back the full, in-person GBTA Mexico Conference to 2022 and hold a special virtual event October 7, 2021 from 10 a.m. to noon (CDMX). Please save the date!
Did you know that GBTA has set up a special Convention Showcase Page on LinkedIn? If you haven’t already, head over to this page and bookmark it for the most up-to-date news and details on GBTA Convention 2021.