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With just two more months before we close out 2016, I wanted to take a moment to share a few highlights of recent GBTA events that have occurred in Latin America. As one of the most exciting business travel markets, Latin America has tremendous growth opportunities. We are already seeing an increase in much of Central America and Argentina, among other areas, as the global economy has strengthened in the past 18 months. GBTA has been diligently working to take advantage of these opportunities in an expanded outreach and programming effort throughout Latin America.
This year we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the GBTA Mexico Conference in Mexico City. The two-day event had record attendance and offered a variety of education sessions including topics such as “The Mexican Business Travel Industry’s Impact on Jobs and the Mexican Economy” and “Developing the Strategy in Strategic Meetings Management”. In addition, attendees heard from experts on a variety of topics such as global travel medical and security risks, mobile technology hidden costs, human trafficking and the difference in U.S. travel management practices versus global practices. Due to the growth and success of the GBTA Mexico Conference, we are expanding it in 2017 to include the rest of Central America and the Caribbean.
This year’s GBTA Conference and ERM Symposium in Brazil were also a huge success. The GBTA Conference in Sao Paulo featured high-level general sessions and education seminars including two sessions led by Emmy-winning investigative reporter and producer, Peter Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg provided a keynote on business travel trends and moderated a panel discussing the future of business travel in Latin America with panelists Jose Roberto Trinca, Director for American Airlines Brazil and Kevin Maguire, Regional Vice-President for GBTA Latin America.
Fernão Tanaka, Strategic Travel Manager, America Latina for PHILIPS, moderated a lively and interactive panel on challenges and opportunities with open booking that had both the panelists and attendees in the audience eager to participate with comments and solutions. In addition, a dynamic panel moderated by Lucimar Reis, Director Brazil for United Airlines, focused on women leaders and successful leadership in the travel industry. Panelists Roberta Canteiro Nonis of AstraZeneca and Sandra Veloso of Kontik | FCM added recommendations to enhance the growing leadership role of women in Latin America.
Other key session topics included travel policies as living documents, professional branding through social media, ROI in corporate meetings and technology in business. We are looking forward to taking advantage of the opportunities and continued growth in Brazil.
Now in its fifth year, the two-and-a-half day GBTA Conference in Buenos Aires has become the must-attend travel conference in Argentina. This year’s event featured some of the industry’s most dynamic speakers and sessions. Claudio Ameijeiras, Founder and Director of Theorema Consulting, focused on “Seeking Positive Balance” emphasizing research shows regardless of how much money you make or how famous you are, having dreams, helping others and having a passion for what you do is most important. Perhaps this is why as business travel professionals we are so passionate about our industry and what we do.
The Buenos Aires Conference’s keynote speaker was Isela Costantini, CEO of Aerolineas Argentinas. Ms. Costantini is considered to be one of the 50 most powerful women in the corporate world and last year was named CEO of the Year in Argentina. She shared some challenges and opportunities in her new role and discussed a cultural change within their organization by placing the passenger at the core of their business, focusing on the experience of the traveler, on-time performance and frequency.
Attendees also participated in education sessions on data, duty of care, human trafficking, technology, social media, group, sports teams and incentive travel among other topics. The GBTA Buenos Aires Conference is just one more example of how GBTA is helping to facilitate and build upon the strong interest in business travel throughout Central and South America.
With the rapid growth in Latin America, the new GBTA Latin America Hub allows GBTA members the chance to interact with their industry peers in both Spanish and Portuguese. In addition, GBTA is also offering a monthly newsletter in both languages to keep everyone up-to-date on all things GBTA.
GBTA offers excellent events, compelling research and top-notch educational opportunities for the business travel industry. We continue to add to and enhance our wide array of educational and training sessions to address many of the key issues we face as professionals. This year we have set a milestone in the academic development of travel professionals in Latin America by delivering 13 Advanced Principles and Fundamentals courses in 11 countries. We are expanding our Fundamental and Advanced Principles programs as well as the ever-popular education days, which we recently started in Lima and Bogota.
So many great things are going on throughout the LATAM region!
As always, GBTA will continue to focus on our member needs no matter where you are in the world. I hope to see many of you in Europe in a few short weeks at GBTA Conference 2016 Frankfurt in partnership with VDR.