The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


Mike McCormick
Mike McCormick

About Mike McCormick

Since 2009, Mike McCormick, with the support of a progressive Board of Directors and highly dedicated staff, has led the growth and globalization of GBTA. He oversees the daily operations of the GBTA association, foundation and academy with staff on six continents. McCormick comes to GBTA with more than 25 years of travel industry experience, including leadership positions at such travel brands as Rosenbluth International, PhoCusWright and Travelport. Mike is an avid (frustrated) Philadelphia sports fan, a Notre Dame graduate (go Irish!) and a proud father of six children.

GBTA Encourages the EU to Digitalize its Visa Process

Last month, the European Commission invited GBTA to share our views on the risks and opportunities involved with digitalizing EU visas. This is part of the EU’s effort to modernize its visa policy and overcome challenges for both public authorities and travelers.

GBTA welcomed this opportunity to provide input into the European Commission’s work and strongly supports the initiative. The EU should leverage new digital technologies to facilitate travel to the Schengen area – while upholding the highest safety standards.

Digitalizing the EU visa process can reduce what is currently a long visa application processing time by enabling business travelers to file their applications online and avoid having to make a personal appearance at consular services. A digital process would allow applicants to upload the required documents electronically, including their passport and picture. The e-visa would then be issued in an electronic form and sent by email to applicants creating a much more streamlined approach.

Many countries including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and India have already successfully digitalized their visa application processes. GBTA suggests that the European Commission set-up an exchange of “best practices” with those countries to facilitate the implementation of EU-wide e-visas.

To ensure a smooth transition, GBTA highlighted that the EU should address the digital divide in Europe and ensure that a harmonized digital procedure is implemented across all EU Member States. It will be critical to protect data integrity and privacy and ensure that public authorities safeguard their systems against data breaches and cyberattacks.

GBTA remains convinced that the benefits of digitalizing visas outweigh the potential concerns – and calls on the European Commission to support Member States when rolling-out new digital capabilities.

GBTA is committed to working hand-in-hand with the European Commission to ensure that the digitalization of visas and visa processing becomes a reality, and making sure that the EU’s visa policy takes into account business travelers’ interests.


What Will the Election Mean for Business Travel?

Will the Democrats take the House? Will the Republicans retain control of the Senate? Pollsters have been trying to predict the outcome for months now. As we head into the midterm elections today, if there is anything we learned from following the polls in the 2016 Presidential election, it is that no one really knows what will happen until the results are in.

At GBTA, we are not in the business of predicting elections, but we do want to let you know what impact the election can have on business travel – regardless of who wins or loses today.

Here are three key travel-related committees to keep an eye on:

House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee - Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA) is currently serving his third term as Chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. As one of the largest committees in Congress, it has broad jurisdiction over all modes of transportation and other aspects of our national infrastructure as well. Shuster is retiring from Congress, meaning the chair of this Committee will change regardless of the election outcome.

If the House flips, the current Democratic ranking member who would become the chair is Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Rep. DeFazio was a sponsor of the FASTER Act, which GBTA strongly supported. He does however, support raising the cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC). GBTA will continue to engage on these important issues as an increase in the PFC could have a significant impact on the bottom line for companies sending business travelers on the road for roughly 40 million business trips a month – most of which involve air travel.

If the Republicans remain in control of the House, there are two contenders in play to take on the chair role: Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) and Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO). Past Legislative Summit attendees may remember Rep. Denham as a speaker in 2015. He has done some positive work for business travelers with his efforts around passenger rail legislation. He is facing a tough reelection campaign that he will need to win first if he wants a chance to chair the Committee though. Rep. Graves is also a past Legislative Summit speaker and a longtime champion of business travel making him a two-time GBTA Navigator Award winner. Politico reports that Graves appears to be first-in-line in this contest, but that both Congressmen have expressed a desire to push a major infrastructure package as an early priority in the next Congress.

House Homeland Security CommitteeWith current Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) reaching his term limit, the leadership for the House Homeland Security Committee will also change regardless of whether the House flips or not. It is not completely clear who will take over should the Republicans maintain control, but Mike Rogers (R-AL) is seen as the most likely. 

If the Democrats win the House, ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-MS) would be the next chairman. Thompson has been the top Democrat on the Committee since 2005.

Given the many security items incorporated into the recently passed FAA Reauthorization bill, the Committee will likely focus more attention on TSA oversight issues going forward including workforce and union concerns, whistleblower protections and employee misconduct. Thompson has also shown interest in the growing use of biometric technology and facial recognition by Customs Border Protection and TSA, along with what privacy concerns this technology poses.

Additionally, Politico reported that a Thompson aide has said Democrats want to examine immigration policies that have come out of the Trump Administration including the travel ban, border wall and disaster response.

Senate Commerce CommitteeSen. John Thune (R-SD), current chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, is expected to move to the role of Senate Majority Whip should the Republicans retain control of the Senate.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) is expected to take on the chair role in this case. His priorities on transportation are not yet known. When it comes to aviation, he has spoken out against regulatory policies that make it harder for the airlines to do business out of concern that this typically means if airlines need to cut service, it will be to less-profitable, rural routes like his state. However, he has also been opposed to the airlines’ views on several issues including pulling air traffic control operations from the FAA and supporting language in the FAA Bill that would bar unreasonable change and cancellation fees (this ultimately was not included in the final bill). In other modes of transportation, he has long been a proponent for maintaining Amtrak’s long-distance routes and will likely be a key voice for Amtrak on this front if he becomes chair.

If the Democrats take control of the Senate, the front-runner to chair the Committee is Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) are also in the mix. Sen. Kobluchar is another long-time champion of business travel and an inaugural winner of GBTA’s first Navigator Award in 2016.

 

GBTA will be following the election results closely as they come in Tuesday night and will monitor the changes in committee leadership as that unfolds. Travel has always been a bipartisan issue and we will continue to work closely with leaders on both sides of the aisle to ensure the voice of the business travel industry is heard.

I encourage you to help make our collective voice stronger by attending our Legislative Summit next spring and letting your members of Congress know how important business travel is to our economy.

You can also stay up-to-date on GBTA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., Brussels and around the world by subscribing to GBTA’s bi-weekly Politics of Travel email from GBTA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Shane Downey.


Passage of the FAA Bill Is A Major Win for the Business Travel Industry, GBTA and You

Earlier this month, I sent the note below as an email to GBTA members outlining why the FAA Reauthorization is such a big win for business travel. Read on below for more and tune in to this week’s GBTA podcast where I had the opportunity to talk with Shane Downey, GBTA Vice President of Government Relations, along with Todd Webster of Cornerstone Government Affairs for an in-depth discussion on the recently passed FAA Reauthorization Bill and what it means for business travel.

 

 

In a rare act of bipartisanship in today’s political landscape, Democrats and Republicans worked together to pass a bill that reauthorizes the budget for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for five years. Before the President signed the FAA Bill into law, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 93-6 and it passed the House by a similarly large margin with a vote of 398-23.

Why is this such a big win for business travel?
As the voice of the business travel industry on Capitol Hill, GBTA staff tirelessly advocates for policies that better the business travel industry. Our Government Relations Committee provides insight to help us identify the issues that matter most, our Chapters engage in advocacy through our annual Government Relations Challenge, and most importantly, many of our members attend our Legislative Summit each year to take our collective voice to the Hill and meet with their Senators and Representatives.

In this one bill, virtually all of the priority issues we have included in our Legislative Agenda for the past five years have now become a reality.

  • Long-Term Reauthorization: GBTA has been calling for a long-term FAA Reauthorization to provide stability to the nation’s air traffic control system, ensuring the ongoing safe, secure and efficient facilitation of air travel. This bill marks the first five-year extension since 1982. This follows years of instability created by three authorization extensions from 2015-2017, a federal government shutdown in 2013, a lapse in the FAA authorization in 2011 and 23 short-term extensions from 2007 to 2012.

  • An End to the Diversion of Security Fees: Over the past year, GBTA has been one of the lone organizations supporting the FASTER Act, which would end the practice of diverting a portion of the 9-11 security fee charged on each air ticket toward the national deficit. GBTA argued that this money should go towards security and improving TSA’s efforts as it was intended. This bill ends the current practice of diverting 60 cents on every fee charged by 2027.

  • PreCheck is PreCheck: PreCheck is a win for all passengers, leading to increased traveler satisfaction and overall safety. This new bill mandates that only those prescreened passengers enrolled in trusted traveler programs can use the PreCheck lanes. It also enacts measures to increase marketing and enrollment capabilities through authorized third parties, which will ultimately continue to strengthen the benefits of PreCheck.

  • No Voice Calls on Planes: GBTA has long-advocated for #NoCallsOnPlanes as the vast majority of business travelers oppose voice calls on planes. This bill calls for a regulation prohibiting calls on planes. As we always say, sometimes silence really is golden.

  • Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs): The bill did not include an increase in the PFC, which is a tax on air travelers and essentially a tax on the cost of doing business. The bill also calls for the formation of an expert panel to investigate the need for infrastructure, resources and the impact of increasing the fee – specifically calling out for representation from the business travel industry to act as a stakeholder on the panel. This is the direct result of our efforts to demonstrate the diverse needs of the leisure and business travel industries and showcase the important economic impact of our industry.

  • Rental Car Taxation: This bill prohibits discriminatory taxes on rental cars at airport locations, meaning that state and local governments can no longer put a tax on a rental car that they wouldn’t put on any other purchase. For example, specific car rental taxes used to pay for new stadiums targeted at travelers renting cars who are not from their voting district would be prohibited.

  • Business Traveler Protections: Finally, the bill included some consumer protections that will look out for our business travelers including mandates to set new minimum requirements for seats on airplanes; a call to refund passengers for services they paid for but did not receive; and for regulators to determine if it is unfair or deceptive for airlines to tell passengers that a flight is delayed or canceled due to weather alone when other factors are involved.

Thank you to all of our members who have been a part of our advocacy efforts over the years. It was your collective voice that allowed our industry to achieve this tremendous milestone. The fight is never over though when it comes to advocacy as we must remain vigilant on these issues and stay on top of our next priorities. I encourage you all to attend our Legislative Summit next spring to make our voice even stronger. You can also stay up-to-date on GBTA’s advocacy efforts in Washington, D.C., Brussels and around the world by subscribing to GBTA’s bi-weekly Politics of Travel email from GBTA’s Vice President of Government Relations, Shane Downey.

I would also like to thank our long-time friends and colleagues at Cornerstone Government Affairs. Our partnership over the past eight years has been exceptional and your contributions to our success immeasurable.

In closing, it is worth again calling out the outstanding bi-partisan work in Congress and the White House to look past ideological differences and put the future of the business travel industry – and business travelers that drive our economy – first. We hope that this is a model for future success for the global business travel industry and our leaders in Washington.
 


CEO Insights - An Interview with John Snyder, BCD Travel President & CEO

I’ve been fortunate to have worked in the business travel industry throughout my entire career. I’m now in my ninth year in my role at GBTA, serving on behalf of our Association to better what I firmly believe is the most resilient, passionate and relevant industry in the world. At GBTA, we work every day to connect the people that connect the world. It is without question, the people, who make this industry so special.

For this week’s GBTA podcast episode, longtime industry veteran John Snyder joined me for a conversation about the workforce in our industry, innovation and engaging travelers. As many of you know, John is the president and CEO of BCD Travel and is responsible for the company’s strategic direction to fulfill their mission of helping people and companies travel smart and achieve more.

When I asked John what keeps him up at night, it wasn’t solving for the latest technology issues or focusing on the bottom line that he talked about. Instead, he shared his concern around bringing new talent into his organization and our industry as a whole. He sees a need for a bigger voice for the industry recruiting at colleges and universities around the world to attract new and interesting talent. The industry can be taught, but talent, attitude and attention to customers are skills to go after.

Looking beyond recruiting talent to work in the travel industry, GBTA research has shown the important role travel plays across the job market when it comes to recruiting and retaining top talent. Given today’s tight labor market and low unemployment, this becomes increasingly important for companies. So, how can a TMC help their customers in this area by making the business travel experience as good as it can possibly be?

“Part of it is just helping our customers on the front-end to understand how they can really use [travel] as a recruiting tool, and then from that end, providing the highest level of service and really helping keep the travelers engaged in a travel programs is a really huge responsibility for the TMC community,” John said. “Overall traveler satisfaction and traveler engagement need to be one of the highest priorities of any TMC, because that’s really, at the end of the day, what we’re hired to do.”

We also talked innovation – looking at BCD’s approach to innovating, as well as the future for open environments for technology in our industry, which admittedly has a long history of having many closed technology platforms that don’t always play well with others.

“I think open ecosystems are critical to the future success of our industry,” John said. “The old days of having a closed platform that no one could come in and utilize your technology or your resources is really a way of the past. Now it’s really creating that open ecosystem, so you can share technology back and forth, and be able to integrate easily and effectively for our customers.”

To hear the full conversation, tune in to this week’s episode of The Business of Travel:

 

 

Stay tuned in the coming months as I’ll be interviewing more leaders across our industry for their perspectives and insights on the opportunities and challenges facing business travel. You can also listen to the podcast and subscribe via  iTunesStitcherGoogle Play and your other favorite podcast directories.


BREXIT UPDATE: UK Leaders Must Not Leave the EU Without A Deal

GBTA Calls on EU and UK Leaders to Agree on Outstanding Issues in the Withdrawal Agreement

Progress in the Brexit negotiations since the June 2018 European Council Summit has been slow by every measure. The UK and EU negotiating teams have met in Brussels since mid-August in the hope of finalizing the outstanding issues in the Withdrawal Agreement preparing the exit of the UK from the EU. Despite these efforts, they have reached the long-earmarked deadline of the October European Council Summit without evidence of clear progress on some of the key remaining issues relating to the Withdrawal Agreement, such as Northern Ireland.

Even despite positive talks over the weekend, political considerations have brought us back to square one.

In this context, ahead of the European leaders’ Summit taking place on 17-18 October, GBTA stresses once again that securing the Withdrawal Agreement and transition remains essential for the business travel industry. The lack of progress in negotiations puts into question the feasibility of guaranteeing certainty for businesses with an effective, predictable transition period as of March 2019. Letting the UK leave the EU without a deal would lead to brutal changes to the current trading, economic and social environments causing serious consequences on business travelers themselves, as citizens and as business representatives.

Although GBTA welcomes the EU and the UK’s increased activities on preparing stakeholders for every outcome including a “no deal”, with publications of many technical notices (UK and EU), the priority remains to not reach that point. We appreciate the fact that aviation is one of the few areas in which the European Commission and the UK Government has been forthcoming with their contingency planning. The UK has in fact committed to unilaterally grant permits to allow EU airlines to continue providing their services in the UK. We can only hope that the EU-27 will agree to reciprocate these permits for UK airlines even in the case of a no deal.

While Brexit contingency planning for the aviation sector is relatively advanced, if not properly managed, risks still exist that would undermine many key principles critical to the business travel industry. GBTA has been continuously defending the need for proper connectivity, robust competition and high standards for safety and security measures for travelers as well. 

That is why GBTA calls on the EU and the UK to harness the general momentum to conclude the Withdrawal Agreement, including the vital transition period, by mid-November at the latest. This will ensure the EU-27, the European Parliament and the UK Parliament have sufficient time to adopt the provisions of the agreement. GBTA also looks forward to EU and UK negotiators initiating discussions on the framework for the future trading relationship between the EU and the UK, especially when it comes to future aviation arrangements.

Finally, GBTA looks forward to meeting with key EU decision makers again this week to discuss Brexit and its impact on the business travel sector at this critical juncture.   


Revision of EU Air Services Rules: Business Travelers Highlight Key Issues of Concern

GBTA Urges EU Institutions to Effectively Deal with Price Transparency in Aviation

GBTA welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the on-going policy debate on the EU aviation market, launched by the European Commission in the context of its evaluation of European rules governing competition in the internal aviation market.

On 7 June, GBTA submitted its answers to the public consultation launched by the European Commission in this context, and highlighted key issues to be addressed, in particular the need for fair and transparent ticket price policies to be implemented for the benefit of business travelers and the companies they work for.

GBTA stressed that several disruptive practices by airlines, such as unilateral decisions to impose surcharges on bookings made through Global Distribution Systems (GDSs), the increased use of loyalty programmes to outreach directly to travelers and price discrimination on the basis of a traveler’s residence, result in costs increases for business travelers and disruptions in corporate travel management.

Given its contribution to the European Commission’s public consultation, GBTA looks forward to the results of this consultation, and is ready to continue to cooperate with the European Commission on evaluating the benefits and challenges to address in the aviation market in order to ensure that business travelers’ specific concerns are taken into account in any future revision of EU rules.


Brexit: Business Travelers Concerned by Threatening “No Deal” Prospect

The Clock is Ticking: GBTA Reiterates Call to EU and UK Brexit Negotiators to Agree on Withdrawal Issues and Quickly Start Discussing Future Relationship & Aviation

A few months ago, GBTA commented positively on progress achieved at the March 2018 meeting, where a way forward was finally found on Withdrawal issues, namely Citizens’ rights, the Northern Ireland border and the financial settlement. GBTA also positively welcomed the agreement found on the length of transition period, which provided some reassurance to businesses and their business travelers.

However, looking at the way negotiations have unfolded since then, GBTA’s hope that decision makers will make good progress and start negotiating the EU-UK future trade deal is fading. Despite what was announced this March, and as demonstrated by the Joint EU-UK Statement assessing the progress of negotiations published on 19 June, only minor achievements have been made and Northern Ireland continues to be a sticking point, preventing the EU and UK negotiators from moving forward on trade and aviation issues.

This has created a highly uncertain situation for business travel, and uncertainty is never good for business. Therefore, in advance of the 28-29 June EU Summit, the business travel industry calls upon European institutions to carefully consider the implications of this uncertainty for businesses and commit to rapidly opening up negotiations on the future EU-UK trade deal as well as on the future EU-UK future aviation deal.

A seamless transition towards a sound aviation deal is crucial for the economy, businesses and the business travel industry. Prospects of Brexit for aviation are alarming: obstacles for UK airlines to operate in the EU and with the rest of the world, reduced connectivity and travel choices as well as risks to travel safety and security if the UK leaves the European Agency for Aviation Safety. The practical effect of a failure to reach an agreement would be the immediate suspension of flights between the UK and the European Union.   

The EU and UK economies cannot afford a no deal. Neither can businesses nor business travelers. This is why GBTA remains committed to being involved every step of the way to advocate for the best interests of our industry.

 


Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Current Travel Ban

GBTA Projects Future Impact on U.S. Economy and Business Travel

Today, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold President Trump’s travel ban. So, what does this mean for the future of the travel industry? It cannot be denied that the cumulative impact of the travel bans over the past 18 months has been felt by our industry. The initial reaction alone to the first travel ban issued by the Administration was swift and strong – more than $185 million in business travel bookings were lost in one week.

As the second and then third executive orders on travel were narrowed, it lessened the impact, confusion and outcries, but the effect on business travel and the U.S. economy remains. In a poll of GBTA members last week, nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of U.S. travel buyers reported that the Administration’s executive orders on travel have driven at least some level of reduction in their company’s travel. Additionally, 37 percent expect some level of reduction going forward because of today’s ruling to uphold the ban.

More than half (52 percent) of U.S. travel buyers also reported concerns of increased traveler harassment in general due to this Administration’s policies and messaging on travel and immigration, while 40 percent worry about a reduction in business travel to the United States. When asked about the lasting impact, U.S. buyers cited the potential for countries to respond, making travel more difficult for U.S. travelers (64 percent), complications in travel to the United States (56 percent), increased threats against U.S. travelers abroad (51 percent) and cancelled projects/contracts between U.S. and foreign companies (36 percent).

Perhaps most strikingly, 62 percent of U.S. buyers believe this Administration is having a negative impact on business travel. For every one percent decrease in business travel spending, the U.S. economy loses 74,000 jobs, $5.5 billion in GDP, $3.3 billion in wages and $1.3 billion in taxes.

GBTA also polled its European members, revealing that 31 percent of European travel buyers report that the Administration’s executive orders on travel have driven at least some level of reduction in their company’s travel. Additionally, 38 percent of European travel buyers say their willingness to plan meetings and events in the United States has decreased because of the Administration’s executive orders and a similar number (39 percent) say the Administration’s policies and messaging on travel and immigration have negatively impacted their company’s willingness to plan meetings and events in the United States.

The numbers clearly show there has been - and there will continue to be - an impact.

GBTA is deeply concerned about the long-term impact of these survey results, and the global perception of doing business with the United States. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and as the United States changes its policies about inbound travel, others are likely to do the same.

Business planning in an environment with turmoil and unpredictable change is difficult. Business leaders would much rather have certainty and predictability so that they can allocate capital and plan business appropriately for the long term. When policies are introduced without consulting stakeholders and presented without warning, it causes damage to the United States as a destination for foreign travel. However, it is not irreparable. The U.S. economy remains strong and is an attractive place for business.  

Security is, of course, of the utmost importance. We can work to ensure safe and secure travel through other proven security measures including continued expansion of the Visa Waiver Program, the implementation of additional trusted traveler reciprocal agreements with countries where possible and encouraging relevant agencies to find more areas of cooperation to pool resources and intelligence.

Congress can work closer together in a bi-partisan fashion to encourage the White House to implement appropriate policies that impact travelers and businesses alike. Our shared mission is to implement policies going forward that preserve both our national security and our economy for the future.


GBTA Testifies at House Homeland Security Subcommittee Hearing, Addresses TSA PreCheck Program and the Economic Impact of Travel Ban

Today, I testified on behalf of GBTA at a hearing held by the Homeland Security Committee’s House Subcommittee on Transportation and Protective Security. The purpose of the hearing, Addressing The TSA Checkpoint: The PreCheck Program and Airport Wait Times, was to examine both TSA, GAO, and private sector stakeholder perspectives relating to the TSA PreCheck program, as well as the agency’s airport wait times mitigation strategy going into the busy Summer travel season.

It cannot be overstated how important travel is to the U.S. economy... or any economy. As we always say, ‘Business travel drives business growth’. Companies invest in business travel to drive new business, create new jobs and build shareholder value.

As the busy summer travel season ramps up, GBTA is concerned past travel problems in screening as well as past statements and policies on foreign visitation will impact the rest of 2018 and beyond. The nation’s businesses spent $424 billion to send travelers out on the road for 514.4 million domestic business trips including roughly 144 million round trip flights. Because of this mass of travelers, GBTA has made secure and efficient travel a key platform of GBTA’s legislative policy and has been a supporter of TSA PreCheck since its first iteration as Registered Traveler.

Subcommittee Chairman Rep. John Katko (R-NY) asked about cooperation from TSA and areas for improvement and growth. Our interaction with TSA has been terrific, but the reality is some of these areas we must accelerate, particularly the marketing of the programs to corporations.

Rep. Katko also added that PreCheck should not be used to manage traffic at airports, especially under the guise of risk-based security.

Regarding managed inclusion, GBTA believes its continued practice undermines the impetus to enroll and calls into question the entire premise of the program, which is prescreening travelers who through background checks have been identified as “safe” before they arrive at the airport. It’s time to finally put an end to this practice, which confers all the benefits of PreCheck without requiring any of the burdens.

TSA PreCheck cannot be the sole answer to long security lines. Accurate travel numbers, well thought out policies and solid analysis of historical data and forecasts, like the “GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast” are key to TSA’s ability to adequately staff checkpoints.

Ranking Chair Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) asked what message do the President’s policies and rhetoric send international visitors.

We are at a time of conflicting and sometimes seemingly contradictory views on how the business travel marketplace is trending – and what the future holds. On one hand, as lower corporate tax rates are pushed forward and business regulations are rolled back, some would argue that business travel is healthy. But other underlying factors have a decidedly more negative impact on the future of business travel including trade policy renegotiation, terrorism, travel and immigration bans, sanctions, electronics bans and geopolitical tensions.

GBTA projected a loss of over $1.3 billion in overall travel-related expenditures in the U.S. in 2017 including hotels, food, rental cars and shopping expenses that inbound travelers would have spent due to global uncertainty driven by current administration policies.

We have an obligation as a country to address the issues and to give companies that are driving the economy the support they need.

Watch the full hearing.


ETIAS: A Fair and Beneficial System for Business Travelers

On 25 April 2018, European policy makers concluded negotiations on a new legislation that will put in place a European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS), an equivalent to the well-known Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) introduced in the United States in 2008.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), representing 9,000-plus members that manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually, congratulates EU legislators for striking the right balance between enhancing security and avoiding unnecessary burdens on business travelers.

GBTA is pleased to see that its call for a fair and reasonable system for business travelers has been taken into account by EU legislators:

  • The ETIAS fee will not exceed €7 and the ETIAS authorization will be valid for three years. This will allow for the system to be financially self-sufficient while not deterring business travel to the EU.

  • Passengers simply transiting through a Schengen country will not have to request an ETIAS authorization.

  • The system will apply to all visa-exempt applicants – without exemptions – between the ages of 18 and 70.

The system will allow EU Member States to conduct pre-travel screening to assess security and migration risks before issuing a Schengen visa, therefore closing the information gap on travelers entering the Schengen area without a visa. This will undoubtedly help identify any possible security concerns, thus contributing to improved travel safety as well as improved EU internal security.

ETIAS will also ease border control processes and provide visa-exempt business travelers with a reliable and early indication of their admissibility into the Schengen area.

GBTA would therefore like to call upon EU decision-makers to swiftly finalize the last legal steps to avoid any delays in the implementation of the system.