Thoughts on Omicron and a New Date for GBTA Conference Europe
It might have felt like déjà vu this past week as the world started to assess the fast-emerging news about the omicron variant. Earlier in the year, we faced the discovery of the delta variant and whose effects we are still tracking. New COVID-19 developments will likely continue for the foreseeable future and will demand our ongoing agility and resiliency.
GBTA is staying agile, too. Out of an abundance of care and safety, working with our VDR partners In Europe, we made the decision to reschedule what would have been this week’s GBTA Europe Conference. (From the feedback we received, we know many of you agreed.) And I am excited to share we’ve confirmed new dates for this Berlin event which will now be held February 28 to March 2, 2022. (Updated information is being sent to registered attendees and posted on our GBTA channels. And now there’s time for more of you to register to attend!)
If there are lessons to take from our months’ long journey with the delta variant, it’s that strategies may need to continue to evolve, even as we await a better understanding about new COVID-19 developments. Thus, we must strike a balance between mitigating risks – by prioritizing health and safety while also keeping travel and our global economies moving. GBTA continues to support thoughtful, science-first approaches and consistent, proportionate mitigation measures when it comes to business travel and travel overall, especially keeping country borders open to travelers. We encourage countries and governments to work together and consistently, with a focus on the individual traveler rather than broad-sweeping border closures: increasing vaccination rates, vaccine availability and boosters; testing; and enforced masking in airports and on flights.
GBTA has been tracking the pandemic through the lens of business travel, and this week we are asking for your input for a quick poll about the omicron variant. Please take a few minutes by Friday to share your thoughts, and we’ll release poll results next week. The new year and the next business quarter are right around the corner. We want to know what business travel professionals are feeling and seeing when it comes to the omicron variant in the business travel industry.
Whether you’re planning a last-minute year-end business trip or personal holiday travel, remember the Sherpa + American Airlines tool is available via the GBTA website to keep you up to date on what’s required for entry into and travel to different regions and countries.
News To Know
Pre-departure tests reinstated by UK government
Starting December 7th, travelers from countries not on the red list will once again be required to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test before flying to the UK. Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid commented: “As our world-leading scientists continue to understand more about the Omicron variant we are taking decisive action to protect public health and the progress of our Covid-19 vaccination programme.”
Thanksgiving travelers set pandemic record on Sunday, TSA says
Passenger air travel reached a new high since the start of the pandemic on the Sunday after Thanksgiving with TSA reporting screening over 2.4 million people. This is 85% of the volume screened in 2019, and more than double the numbers from last year. Overall, TSA said it screened 20.9 million travelers over the Thanksgiving week, in all about 89% of what it saw pre-pandemic.
Government of Canada introduces additional measures to address COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern
The Government of Canada announced new border measures to reduce the importation and transmission of Covid-19 and its variants. Based on data from ongoing surveillance efforts and the latest public health advice, the Government of Canada is expanding the list of countries with entry prohibitions originally announced on November 26th. Canadian citizens who have been in any of these 10 countries in the last 14 days, will be subject to enhanced pre-entry and arrival testing, screening, and quarantine measures.
GBTA News & Reminders
Meetings and Events in 2021. What we learned and where do we go from here?
Presented by the GBTA Canada Meetings Committee, this expert panel will close the books on 2021 and discuss what we learned on planning, executing, and evaluating the results of meetings in Canada and the US. From completely virtual to face-to-face (F2F), what were the “aha” moments of 2021 and what is being adapted when planning for 2022. Topics will include Contracts, Health & Safety, F&B, the Perception of Meetings and the Role of the Attendee and best practices moving forward.
GBTA Convention Replay
Can’t make it to Orlando for GBTA Convention? Don’t miss out on the new, unique experience, check out Convention Replay! With 5 livestreaming Main Stage sessions, 25 educational sessions, virtual exhibitor connections, and more, you can reap the value of the business travel industry’s flagship gathering in a way that’s right for you.