I’m in Toronto for the GBTA Canada Conference where over these past two days, nearly 600 Canadian leaders, professionals and industry stakeholders are gathered to discuss the future of business travel in the region.
Among the timely topics – and taking center stage at the event for the first time – is getting to a greener future for our industry. Working together will be key and today we’re another step closer as GBTA Canada announced a partnership with the Canadian Council for Sustainable Aviation Fuels (C-SAF) to advance SAF in Canada.
Speaking of sustainability, I hope you’ve had the chance to take a look at GBTA’s recently released landmark report, “The State of Sustainability in the Global Business Travel Sector.” With almost 1,000 views and 500 complimentary downloads here of the report since we launched last week, I know many of you have. The 21-page benchmarking study provides in-depth insights from hundreds of global business travel professionals around the world but also importantly, from external stakeholders such as policy makers, think tanks and NGOs. Working collectively will be key to creating a more sustainable future for business travel.
The report is just one example of what GBTA is able to bring to the industry because of the support of some very important partners: the GBTA Founding Partners in Sustainability. These now 18 partner companies represent a cross-section of our industry. We are grateful for their commitment and for stepping up to ensure a collective industry effort through their support of the GBTA Sustainability Program. In any journey, getting there together is what it is all about.
Being in Canada marks my travel to four countries in two weeks. And while cancelled flights now seem to be a part of the regular road warrior experience, they still don’t compare to the trepidation of needing a recent, negative COVID test to return home. The US in-bound restrictions are still among the most daunting, so GBTA continues to advocate for consistent and pragmatic pandemic responses across all regions – especially for vaccinated travelers.
News to Know:
Canada changes COVID-19 border rules for unvaccinated, partially vaccinated kids
Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated kids ages five to 11 will no longer need a COVID-19 test to enter Canada.The federal government said on Friday that beginning on April 25 at 12:01 a.m. ET, children in that age group who are accompanied by a fully vaccinated parent, step parent, guardian or tutor will no longer be required to complete a pre-entry COVID-19 test. However, pre-entry tests will still be required for partially vaccinated or unvaccinated travellers ages 12 and older who are currently eligible to travel to Canada.
Business Travel is booming but beware new challenges, warns Advantage boss
Travel demand has “soared” but the industry faces multiple challenges on its recovery journey, warned Julia Lo Bue-Said, CEO of the Advantage Travel Partnership at the organisation’s conference in Madeira. Furthermore, she pointed to industry infrastructure “buckling” under the pressure of the recent resurgence in travel, complicated and ongoing travel restrictions, regularly changing flight schedules, and the “passport shambles”.The complexity around travel has presented an opportunity for agents across business and leisure travel that has led to a “phenomenal increase in new to agent business”.
Five places business travel has changed post-pandemic
While all travel took a tumble during the pandemic, international business travel, in particular, was hit hard, as video calls and conferencing quickly took the place of on-site visits and in-person client meetings. But as the world learns to live with the virus, work-related trips have come bouncing back in a big way in 2022. In fact, according to travel management company TripActions, business travel bookings for the first three months of 2022 alone surpassed more than half of all bookings for 2021, with an 875% increase from March 2021 to March 2022.
The view from Latin America: High average spends and a changing sales mix are features of early recovery
Strong average spends, increasing contributions from liquor, electronics and high-end watches, plus a changing passenger demographic are among the dynamics at play in the Latin American travel retail market today. That’s according to ASUTIL President and Dufry Chief Operating Officer for South America Gustavo Fagundes. Recovery is taking place faster in the main hubs compared to secondary airports, he added. “The larger hubs such as GRU (São Paulo Guarulhos) are recovering much more quickly than the smaller airports. But we are seeing week by week growth in flights and connections. We are on the recovery path. In February 2022 we were at about 77% of passenger flow across Latin America compared to 2019. It varies though market by market. Colombia in February had more international flights than Brazil for example so we are not yet at normal levels.”
GBTA News and Reminders:
GBTA Project, Crew, and Team Travel Summit 2022
Join us May 10, 2022 and engage with business travel professionals at GBTA’s first Project, Crew and Team Travel Summit on May 10 in Chicago. This one-day summit provides education in travel logistics, risk management, mobility issues, and technology solutions and is ideal for specialized buyers and suppliers in the sports, entertainment, emergency management, energy, project, and consultancy sectors. This must-attend, interactive event will showcase best practices in managing unique traveler journeys; connect buyers of non-traditional travel services and innovative supplier partners; and uncover new ways to navigate travel in a fragmented ecosystem.
Arabian Travel Market
GBTA will be delivering its first in-person education sessions as part of the Arabian Travel Market 2022. Looking at The Future of Business Travel and Building a Sustainable Business Travel Programme, the sessions will address the critical issues facing our industry today. GBTA will also be hosting an buyer round table dinner to gather leading travel buyers in the region to share best practice and discuss these topics.