A few days ago, I headed out from New York City to Germany in anticipation of our upcoming GBTA Conference – Berlin in partnership with VDR. The flight was full and many people showed the classic signs of a business traveler: carry-ons in tow and working on their computers inflight. And many of you are also getting back to more domestic and even long-haul international business travel, as shown by your numerous social media posts.
But you don’t have to board a flight to see the upward momentum happening in business travel – recent headlines are also telling the story.
More countries and regions – Australia, Israel, Portugal, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, to name a few – have announced they are reducing or eliminating COVID travel restrictions and requirements. Just in the recent days, airports and airlines are reporting slow but steady progress and adding business routes, while international ticket sales are also up. Hotel companies are also seeing an upward trend in corporate travel.
If you’re looking for positive signs of business travel’s thoughtful recovery, they’re here.
We haven’t yet hit an “official” endemic phase globally, and there are regions still challenged with pandemic outbreaks and lower-than-hoped-for vaccination rates. But our industry is moving into a more endemic way of managing it, step by step. The past two years have shown we can’t truly predict the patterns of a pandemic, but we are getting better at navigating COVID-related developments. Hopefully this puts us in a position to ride out any future COVID disruptions without shutting down the world again.
After every challenge in the travel industry over the past twenty years, we’ve reset and gone forward, even if it means giving up some of our time and convenience (like removing our shoes and not bringing large bottles of liquids in our carry-ons, post-9/11). So we can expect some of the learnings from the pandemic will be here to stay. Being pragmatic and adaptable will be key. Your safety is my safety, and that safety will also help keep people, business and global economies moving and thriving. It’s worth it and needed to be in person. Connections mean business. And #BusinessNeedsTravel.
This time next week the GBTA Conference-Berlin will be in full swing and I am looking forward to the connections and energy of being in person and continuing to (re)imagine and (re)create together what the “next normal” might be coming for business travel.
News to Know:
Aviation green transition progresses through ICAO CAEP
ICAO’s Committee on Aviation Environmental Protection (CAEP) concluded its 12th meeting yesterday, making substantial progress on aviation environmental sustainability. Key results were achieved on the long-term aspirational goal (LTAG) for international aviation, new global standards and guidance to support continuous implementation of ICAO’s Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA), and on technical aspects of the sustainability of aviation fuels.
Air travel well into recovery mode, according to IATA’s new stats
Air travel is well into recovery mode, according to the latest stats from IATA. In the two weeks between Jan. 25 – Feb. 8, 2022 there was an 11 percentage point increase for international tickets sold, compared to 2019 sales. It’s the fastest increase of its kind for any two-week period since the crisis began. IATA notes that the increase in ticket sales comes as more governments announce a relaxation of COVID-19 border restrictions.
US Disney resorts lift mask requirements for vaccinated guests
Face coverings will be optional for fully vaccinated guests indoors and outdoors at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts beginning February 17. Walt Disney World Resorts’ new policy posted on its website states that those who are not fully vaccinated are expected to continue wearing face coverings in all indoor locations at its parks in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Germany among latest countries to relax travel restrictions
Countries have continued easing their Covid-19 travel restrictions including Germany which has removed the UK from its list of “high-risk” areas.This move by Germany’s government means that UK travellers no longer have to complete a pre-departure digital registration form – the change came into effect on Sunday (20 February). Fully vaccinated arrivals from the UK can enter Germany for any travel purpose.
GBTA News and Reminders:
A New Paradigm: Booking Policies, Processes, and Technology in a Post-Pandemic World sponsored by Zeno by Serko
Join us February 23rd to learn the results and key findings from the recent research study on booking policies and technology in a post-pandemic world. Join us to hear the results from Chris Ely, research director at GBTA.
GBTA Conference 2021 – Berlin in Partnership with VDR
We are returning to Berlin, our venue for the conference will be the Estrel Berlin, join us February 28th – March 2nd for GBTA Conference 2021 – Berlin in Partnership with VDR, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with attendees representing regional and global companies, to hear from industry-leading speakers and to help define the future of business travel.
GBTA Mexico Conference
Join us March 9th – 10th for GBTA Mexico’s Regional Conference, where you can learn more in depth about the current issues in the industry, in Mexico and in the Region. We will cover topics related to the current state of travel, meetings and events trends, technology, sustainability, how to improve the Association -daily work- between corporate clients, and much more.
Fundamentals of Business Travel Management
Join us February 11th , 18th, 25th and March 4th at 10 A.M. ET , each day for a comprehensive guide to the key areas of managed travel. GBTA’s Fundamentals curriculum includes a full range of topics including safety, policy, trends, performance, and more. Participants in this course gain a better understanding of business travel management and make themselves indispensable to the business travel needs of their organization.