At our record-breaking conference this November in Frankfurt, I took the stage with German Business Travel Association VDR’s Hans-Ingo Biehl to talk about advocacy efforts and policy issues in the EU that impact our industry.
GBTA is working in Europe, Latin America and North America to advance business travel through advocacy. That involves educating decision makers on the economic importance of business travel, advocating for policies that improve aspects of business travel and opposing efforts that hinder business travel.
With our united voices across the globe, we can seek to move forward a business travel agenda with smarter and safer passenger screening, taxation and fees that benefits the traveler, not overburden them, and infrastructure that meets the needs of the traveler.
Working with our partners in the EU, we identified policy issues to focus on that have the greatest impact on our industry including Schengen visas, ensuring a more competitive European aviation sector, shifting away from a one-size-fits-all approach to airport security guidelines, updating air traffic management to form a single European sky and ensuring traveler taxes are reinvested into transportation infrastructure, among others.
After the conference ended, I traveled to Brussels for our first round of engagement with key policymakers in the EU.
We met with key players in the Council of Member States, the European Parliament and the European Commission:
- Mr Marinescu, Member of the European Parliament, in charge of Single European Sky reforms
- Mr Figures & Ms Hamilton, respectively in charge of business and transport at the UK Embassy to the EU
- Mr Tokarski, Director in charge of tourism industries at the European Commission Directorate General on Industries
- Mr Castelletti, Head of Unit in charge of Single European Sky
- Ms Pleterski, Director of European and International Climate Markets, in charge of aviation emissions
- Mr Rösgen, German Ambassador to the EU
We shared our messages on the importance of passenger efficiency and security, fair taxation and investments in transportation infrastructure. We also discussed the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor Agreement, aviation emissions and the sharing economy.
The policymakers were very receptive and we plan to continue engaging with them by sharing relevant data and information, so that we as an industry can help move the agenda forward. Advocacy does not happen overnight. Building relationships with these policymakers however, and understanding how we can help them, puts us in a position to make our collective industry voice heard.
We can only be effective if we are all engaged. This is just the beginning of our advocacy efforts in Europe, and with input from our partner associations and you, our members, GBTA can act as a voice across the globe for the business travel industry.