Check-in with Suzanne
There’s so much going on as we prepare for the return of business travel – let me dive right in!
- According to breaking news, the Department of Homeland Security will extend the U.S. Real ID deadline beyond the October 1, 2021 date. GBTA has been pushing for an extension on this deadline and had specifically raised this topic in the December 7, 2020 meeting with the Biden Transition Team. GBTA will share more information as it becomes available. Click here for full details.
- Ready. Safe. Travel. Training Program: We are just one week away from the kickoff and are so pleased to have several hundred of you signed up already. The content lineup is global + regional, making sure you will have content relevant for your areas. There’s still room so please click here this week to sign up and earn your certification.
- GBTA Bylaw Changes: Make sure we capture your vote! If you haven’t seen the email with your personal voting link from third-party Election Services, please contact [email protected] or [email protected] or call toll-free +1 866-720-HELP (4357). Voting ends this Sunday, May 2.
- GBTA On the “Virtual Stage” with Team United Airlines: I was honored to interview CEO Scott Kirby for the opening of their Customer Connection 2021. What’s clear: International border openings and leisure travel’s current boom in the U.S. will help make business travelers comfortable to travel again, once policies allow for it, and sustainable aviation initiatives hold the promise of travel coming back much better.
- Reaching Out Globally: Last week, I spent time with leaders of several Nordic, Austrian and German travel associations. The pandemic drives home the importance of our aligning on a regional and global approach for government policy influence, member education, and cross-border networking. I also had some fun at the UK Institute of Travel Management’s (ITM’s) spring event, making predictions (some tongue in cheek!) on how business travel will look when it returns.
- Helping Industry Job Seekers: I was pleased to be part of The Company Dime’s free job seekers audio session where I emphasized the importance of networking to create new ideas, opportunities, and ultimately careers that every professional can be proud of.
News to Know
U.S. Airlines Remain Positive As Signs Show Return of Business Travel: The president of American Airlines says he expects to see corporate business pick up after the summer and that small business demand has been improving steadily as vaccination rates have increased and markets reopened. This echoes similarly positive projections recently released from Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.
Biden Administration Wants to Hear From Us: As I shared last week, Shane Downey and I recently met with President Biden’s COVID-19 Response Team. As the U.S. moves into a new phase of the vaccination effort, they would like to learn more about any incentives companies may be enacting – or looking to enact – as they try to get people safely and more quickly back in offices, planes, and in meetings. Please fill out this form and share how your organization is stepping up to support COVID vaccinations.
GBTA Endorses EU Digital COVID Travel Certificate: As part of a region-wide effort to allow people to travel more freely, France has become the first EU member state to begin testing a digital coronavirus travel certificate, with one European Commissioner calling this an urgent priority for southern European member states whose economies have been devastated by the pandemic. GBTA issued a statement calling the certificate “a welcome move to provide assurance to travelers that their documents will be recognized and accepted by relevant national authorities” while calling on “member states to accept the certificates as sufficient proof to waive their travel restrictions – such as quarantines.” To read GBTA’s full statement, click here.
In positive news coming out of the EU, just this past weekend, the president of the European Commission stated that Americans who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to visit the European Union this summer. Read more here.
Restrictions Continue in Canada: Last week, Canada’s public safety minister announced restrictions on international travel into Canada have been extended until May 21. On April 22, the country banned passenger flights from India and Pakistan for 30 days amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases and a new virus mutation. Adding pressure, four British Columbia tourism industry groups joined the province’s tourism ministry in urging British Columbians to stay local, saying “we must avoid travel for leisure so we can bend the curve down again… the tourism and hospitality industry in B.C. need each of us to follow the rules without exception.”
In LATAM, Inequity is Fueling Vaccine Tourism: Wealthy Latin Americans are chartering planes, taking buses and renting cars to get the vaccine in the U.S. due to lack of supply at home. Meanwhile, in Colombia, officials last week gave the green light for the private sector to buy and distribute coronavirus vaccines, in an effort to expand the country’s slow-moving immunization campaign.
GBTA News & Reminders
Findings from GBTA’s Latest COVID Member Poll: The latest series, fielded April 12-17, shows multiple positive signs for business travel recovery, including an increase in willingness to travel, a decrease in trips cancelled and a more optimistic view towards returning to the road as travel bookings continue to increase. View the full poll results.
Earlier today, GBTA hosted the timely webinar, “Ask the HR Expert – Tackling the Questions and Issues Regarding the Vaccine.” We’ll have the recording available on gbta.org this week.
Wishing you a healthy and productive week.