Even though a lot has been changing, “normal” business activities ( i.e., things we did pre-COVID) also importantly continue. For GBTA, that includes the association’s mission across education, advocacy, networking and, of course, in-person conferences and events.
Last week’s GBTA Canada Conference in Toronto was a perfect example of back to normal. As in years past, it brought together hundreds of Canadian travel industry professionals to deliberate on the state of business travel in the region. It was three years since our last GBTA Canada Conference and there was a lot to catch up on!
And when it comes to operating in the “new normal,” well, that can be more complicated. That’s why GBTA created our first Project, Crew & Teams Travel Summit, happening today in Chicago. This full-day, interactive, incubator-style education program brings together specialized buyers and suppliers who manage complex use cases within business travel. The day covers distinct needs across sectors such as Energy, Resource and Marine (ERM); Sports and Entertainment; Emergency Management; Crew and Projects Management; and Consultancies. From travel logistics and payments to risk management, mobility issues, and technology solutions, they’ll tackle common challenges and potential solutions across their industries. They’ll bring home new connections, best practices and innovations in managing unique traveler journeys in a changing travel ecosystem.
And as for what’s next in our learning program, we’ve finalized the education sessions to be featured during GBTA Convention 2022. We received 330 submissions from across the industry and 65 sessions were chosen by the 2022 Peer Review Council (PRC), a rigorous, member-driven selection process. Call-for-submissions began in January and the PRC included a good mix of new voices and those who have participated in the process previously. The categories of sessions are relevant and timely. Make sure you’re at GBTA Convention 2022 to get the most value from these learning and connection opportunities. Our next phase of early bird registration ends June 30.
In about a month we will reboot our annual US Legislative Summit – where I personally look forward to asking Congress and the Biden Administration to stop the inbound testing requirements for travelers into the US.
I look forward to seeing you soon!
News to Know:
Israel drops on-arrival Covid tests for passengers
Israel is further relaxing its Covid-19 travel restrictions by removing the requirement to take on-arrival PCR tests from 20 May. The country’s Ministry of Health said that travellers arriving at Ben Gurion airport will no longer have to take a PCR test from this date. The Israeli government also confirmed that from 10 May, international passengers travelling to Israel will now be allowed to take an antigen test before departure, instead of the current requirement to take a PCR test.
CDC relaxes ‘highly vaccinated’ cruise threshold
The CDC relaxed a key pandemic-era cruise regulation Thursday, allowing more unvaccinated adults and children to cruise on ships designated as “highly vaccinated.” The regulation now requires 90% of cruise ship passengers to be vaccinated for a sailing to be considered “highly vaccinated.” That’s down from 95%, according to the CDC’s Covid-19 Program for Cruise Ships Operating in U.S. Waters. That 90% threshold applies to passengers who are 5 years of age and older. Crew vaccination requirements remain unchanged at a 95% threshold.
Storms are causing major flight delays on the East Coast
Thunderstorms and low clouds over the East Coast are complicating air travel as many Americans are heading to airports during the busy spring break season. Thousands of flights are delayed, with some delays stretching up to two hours, according to Federal Aviation Administration data. By 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, more than 4,500 flights had been delayed, including more than 700 on Southwest, more than 560 on Delta, more than 370 on United and more than 560 on American, according flight tracking data from FlightAware.
UK, Ireland and Poland leading the European hotel recovery
The UK hotel sector has seen the quickest recovery of occupancy levels in Europe with rates now back to more than 80 per cent of pre-Covid levels. According to the latest data from industry specialist STR, hotel occupancy in the UK reached 87 per cent of comparable 2019 levels in mid-April – this was the highest percentage in Europe, just ahead of Poland (at 84 per cent occupancy) and Ireland (81 per cent).
GBTA News and Reminders:
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. Huge thanks to our content steering committee – Chris Pouney, Goldspring Consulting, Gemma Greenwood, Content Inc. and Emre Kirazci, Sofitel.
GBTA Ladders Summit 2022
Join us May 16 – 18, 2022 in Nashville as GBTA brings together the Members of Ladders for an in-person conference. Ladder teams will showcase ideas and concepts, providing the opportunity for selected finalist teams to present at the Summit. Live presentations will be judged and the chosen winner will present in an Education Session at GBTA Convention in San Diego.