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Are Business Travel Programs Barring Basic Economy?
According to new research, business travel programs are not on board with basic economy fares. These fares were introduced by many airlines last year and are typically cheaper than standard airfare, but come with restrictions. The report, put out by GBTA in partnership with Airlines Reporting Corporation (ARC), revealed that 63 percent of travel programs never allow basic economy, and even more (79 percent) configure their booking tool to hide basic economy fares when travelers are not authorized. Delve into additional research findings.
GBTA Announces Formation of WINiT Strategic Advisory Board
In early October, GBTA announced the formation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, which will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future of WINiT as a GBTA Board of Directors initiative. GBTA announced its acquisition of WINiT in August at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. More details on this acquisition and initiative can be found here.
Mobile Payments among Travel Buyers and Suppliers Still in Early Adoption Phase
New research by GBTA, in partnership with U.S. Bank, reveals that mobile payments among travel buyers and suppliers are still in the early adoption phase. While most travel buyers and suppliers are familiar with mobile wallet and contactless payment solutions, 49 percent of travel buyers are still unclear on the benefits. Learn more about this new research.
GBTA & ITM Announce Long-Term Joint Venture
During GBTA Convention 2018, GBTA and The Institute of Travel Management (ITM), the leading managed business travel association in the UK and Ireland, announced the creation of a new London-based event for the managed travel and meetings sector. The new joint venture will kick off with an event, focused on Strategic Meetings Management, that will take place in London on 31 January 2019. Find out more about this partnership.
83 Percent of Female Business Travelers Report Safety Concern or Incident in Past Year
A recent study, conducted in partnership with AIG Travel, revealed that more than 8 in 10, or 83 percent, of women have experienced one or more safety-related concerns or incidents while traveling for business in the past year. The report delves into various precautions that female business travelers take due to safety concerns, highlights gaps in managed travel programs, and more. Read on for more statistics on female business traveler safety.
Business Travelers Say Loyalty Matters in Hotel Booking
According to new research by GBTA, in partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts, 82 percent of business travelers say loyalty programs matter when making a decision to book a hotel. Additionally, a vast majority (84 percent) of business travelers feel having a personalized guest experience is important. Learn more about trends in hotel personalization and loyalty programs.
October 30: GBTA Canada Market Call – Canadian Cannabis Legalization and Its Business Travel Implications
November 6: Benchmark Your Air Travel Policy – Findings from GBTA ARC Research
November 14: New GBTA Research – Simple Meetings by the Numbers – A Huge Process and Savings Opportunity
November 26-27: Advanced Principles of Business Travel Management™
See More Upcoming Events
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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.
On this week’s episode of The Business of Travel, GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick talks 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.
You can download and listen to The Business of Travel in iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and your other favorite podcast directories. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you don't miss out!
The three Ps—profits, people and planet—are the triple bottom line for businesses today. Companies evaluate opportunities and measure success using financial, social and environmental metrics. According to a recent study commissioned by the United Nations:
Corporate travel plays a vital role. A travel program that embeds sustainability into its operations supports savings (profits), traveler satisfaction (people) and environmentally and socially responsible stewardship (planet).
If you’re just getting started with linking your travel program to broader business goals on sustainability, GBTA’s Sustainability in Travel Self-Assessment Tool, created in conjunction with BCD Travel, is a great place to begin. It measures sustainability by program category, including:
Based on the results, the tool grades your travel program’s sustainability level and provides recommendations for improvement. It’s easy to use, and the category assessments can be completed over time or all at once.
Once you have a clearer understanding of your program’s strengths and weaknesses, start looking for others in the business travel industry with a proven record of sustainability success.
In addition, the United Nations Global Compact website offers information on thousands of companies committed to the world’s largest sustainability initiative. The Global Compact calls for corporations to align business principles with sustainability efforts, including improving human rights, labor standards, environmental protection and anti-corruption practices. Make connections with some of these businesses that are getting sustainability right, and ask them for guidance.
The focus on profits, people and the planet is here to stay. It’s time to start minding your three Ps—and you’ve got the tools and resources to make that happen.
Questions? Comments? Send me an email at Sabine.Kerse@bcdtravel.de, and let’s have a chat about creating a sustainable travel program. You can also get in touch via email@example.com, and we’ll share our story and tips for sustainability success.
As Senior Manager Global Sustainability Marketing, Sabine Kerse leads all Marketing and Communications activities focused on sustainability at BCD Travel. In this role she’s made her passion for sustainability part of her profession and uses the powers of Marketing to drive corporate responsibility forward.
Sabine holds a Master’s degree in Tourism & Leisure Management from the Salzburg Management Business School and has profound knowledge about corporate travel from different roles in over 20 years in the industry.
Corporate travel bookings start-up TravelPerk has raised $44 million in funding for its consumer-like business travel site, Reuters reports.
Japan plans on launching an electronic visa system for tourists in order to reach its goal of 60 million annual foreign visitors by 2030, Business Traveller notes. The country has also relaxed its visa requirements to increase inbound tourists.
According to Auto Rental News, Lyft is launching a subscription service. For $299 a month, customers can take 30 rides worth up to $15 each.
Scotland’s Edinburgh Airport was named “airport of the year” at the National Transport Awards in London, TravelDailyNews International notes.
According to new GBTA research out yesterday, 83% of women have experienced at least one (if not more) safety-related incident while traveling for business over the past year.
Cypriot carrier Cobalt Air, which initially launched in 2016, has ceased operations indefinitely, Business Traveller writes.
London’s Gatwick Airport will begin using its emergency runway as a second runway in order to deal with its growing traffic, Airport-Technology.com reports.
According to Buying Business Travel, Europcar launched a new website for corporate customers.
Hotel-Online.com shares tips on how hotels can compete in the sharing-economy provider landscape.
After filing for bankruptcy last year, USA TODAY reports the Italian populist government will relaunch Alitalia with plans to take a 15% share.
According to Buying Business Travel, Laterooms Business launched a new meetings booking platform that enables business travelers to book and manage both their accommodations and meetings spaces.
*The following post was also sent as an email to GBTA members.*
Dear GBTA Members,
With the final quarter of 2018 upon us, I wanted to provide a brief recap and an update since there is so much happening on the GBTA front.
Given some time to reflect on this summer’s Convention, it’s fair to say that we had a tremendous event this year. GBTA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Association and the Convention, and also made history this year in a number of ways: we experienced record-breaking attendance and had over 1,350 buyers, making it the largest Convention ever and the largest gathering of business travel professionals in the world.
We fulfilled on our promise to offer more opportunities for education than ever before with eight different time slots to fill from over 170 education sessions. Sunday afternoon events also incorporated additional education sessions, vertical peer-to-peer discussions, and industry tools and roundtable discussions. GBTA Convention 2018 On Demand will allow you to access any content you would like to review again or may not have had a chance to catch while there.
We featured our highest number of executive interviews at the GBTA Broadcast Studio with 110 live interviews conducted throughout the show, including the most companies featured during Media Day with nearly 30 showcasing their breaking news. The Expo floor was buzzing as we had the largest show floor in history based on square footage and a record number of first-time exhibitors (117).
Additionally, GBTA made two very exciting announcements in San Diego. The first was GBTA’s acquisition of WINiT, strengthening GBTA’s commitment to women in the travel industry. Members of GBTA and WINiT will benefit through access to both organizations' programs and services, and the acquisition will allow GBTA to take WINiT’s mission worldwide. The second announcement was the enhanced partnership between GBTA and the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), the leading managed business travel association in the UK and Ireland. This will feature a deeper, more collaborative partnership between the organizations, which will kick off on January 31, 2019 with a London-based showcase event for the managed travel and meetings sector.
On the Sunday morning of Convention, we hosted our first-ever 5k Run & Walk to raise awareness and funding to stop human trafficking. More than 200 people registered and participated in the event. GBTA continued to raise money for the cause throughout Convention and ultimately we presented a $20,000 check on Wednesday to benefit ECPAT-USA and its efforts to end child exploitation and trafficking. My sincere thanks to everyone who contributed to this important cause.
Billie Jean King, Sports Icon, Social Justice Pioneer and Entrepreneur; Kevin O’Leary, Investor on ABC’s Shark Tank & Bestselling Author; and John Walsh, Victims' Rights Advocate and Host of Discovery ID's In Pursuit with John Walsh all wowed us from the keynote stage at Convention Arena.
I am truly so proud of all that we accomplished this year.
All Committee Summit
Recently, GBTA held its annual All Committee Summit in Denver. This is one of my favorite events every year and I continue to be impressed by the work our various Committees produce. The discussions that took part this year left me excited for what’s to come for GBTA in the year ahead. GBTA Committees play a significant role in our success and in creating innovative content tailored to specific industry sectors. Their work is invaluable. Thank you all who joined.
Committee Highlight: Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee
The Sports, Media and Entertainment Committee’s mission is to find common solutions to the unique challenges facing business travel professionals in these dynamic fields. The Committee has been successful in exposing GBTA to new audiences through peer-to-peer meetings in New York City and Los Angeles where these segments are concentrated. They have been instrumental in driving airlines to expand their specialization desks, now offering 24-7 support for sports, media and entertainment needs and are now working with hotels to do the same. Additionally, they’ve worked on standardization of airline baggage fees around specialty sports or entertainment equipment. The Committee is placing a strong focus now on expanding globally in an effort to broaden the reach and participation of the group beyond the United States.
WINiT Strategic Advisory Board
As I mentioned, GBTA announced our acquisition of WINiT at Convention. I’m sure many of you saw my email last week detailing the creation of the WINiT Strategic Advisory Board, which brings together a remarkable and diverse group of travel industry leaders. The Advisory Board will provide strategic guidance and direction for the future of WINiT as a GBTA Board of Directors initiative. I’ll have more to share soon on this front, but you can expect select WINiT programming to be integrated into our upcoming Europe Conference in Berlin.
As always, thank you to our members for your continued support and commitment. It is your involvement through attendance and personal contribution that make our Association great. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you personally regarding how we can continue to make things better. Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you may have.
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 iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and your other favorite podcast directories.
On this week’s episode of The Business of Travel, GBTA Executive Director and COO Michael W. McCormick talks with John Snyder, BCD Travel President and CEO, about the workforce in the business travel industry, innovation and engaging travelers.
Conferência da GBTA no Rio de Janeiro apresentou as novas tendências e inovações no mercado corporativo
A sexta edição da Conferência GBTA Rio de Janeiro, realizada esta semana (dia 17) no Prodigy Santos Dumont, serviu para solidificar o evento no calendário oficial de eventos daquela cidade. Com um conteúdo acadêmico de tendências e inovações no mercado de viagens corporativas apresentado por lideres da indústria, o evento brindou os participantes com temas de agrado geral, que marcam a nova linha de conteúdo da GBTA, a nível global.
Fabio Camargo, diretor Brasil, da Delta Airlines abriu o evento falando sobre os mercados latino-americano e global sob a perspectiva de uma cia. aérea americana. Em seguida, Wellington Costa, diretor regional da GBTA Brasil, moderou o painel “Velozes e Furiosas, as Tendências em Mobilidade Corporativa”, tendo como panelistas Fernando Cavalheiro, diretor da CEP Transportes, Robson Oliveira, gerente estratégico para a América Latina e Caribe, da Enterprise e Marcelo Godoy, gerente comercial da Triple M/Logicpax, trazendo respostas para os desafios que atingem os transportes terrestres nas grandes cidades brasileiras.
Debora Verencio e Cristhiane Gadelha, gerentes da CIBT Visas, deram continuidade a programação abordando o tema de segurança de dados. Após o almoço, Roland de Bonadona, CEO da Bonadona Consulting, moderou o painel “O Futuro da Hospitalidade”, tendo como panelistas, Cesar Nunes, diretor de marketing e vendas da Atrio Hoteis e Diego Garcia, diretor de Marketing e vendas da Nobile Hoteis. Ricardo Mader, CEO da Jones LaSalle Lang, deu continuidade apresentando a “Hotelaria Brasileira em Números 2018”, relatório finalizado recentemente em conjunto com o FOHB.
O evento, também, teve como ponto alto as duas sessões de exposição, pela manhã e pela tarde, apresentando mais de 20 dos principais “players” da indústria de viagens corporativas, para os quase 200 participantes. Gabriel Barreiros, COO da Argo Solutions e Clarissa Costa, responsável pela gestão financeira e controle orçamentário, da Estácio, explanaram sobre “expense management”, durante quase uma hora.
Finalizando o evento, Debora Rocha, gerente de segurança regional, Brasil, da ISOS International, concluiu falando sobre “Duty of Care”.
Extensão da viagem de negócios para tempo de ócio ou bleisure é maior entre millenials
Em estudo conduzido pela GBTA, em parceria com Hilton Hotels & Resorts e baseado em uma enquete feita com 675 travel managers norte-americanos sobre suas experiências em “viagens de bleisure” (a extensão de viagens de trabalho para ócio), mostrou que os millenials (48%) fazem viagens deste tipo mais que os da Gen-X (33%) e os Baby Boomers (23%).
No passado ano, a razão mais comum para não estender as viagens de negócio para ócio era a falta de tempo (58%). Razões menos comuns foram: políticas de empresa (18%), lugares não desejáveis (17%) e custos (14%).
No ano passado, a Fundação GBTA lançou um relatório que constatou que 36% dos viageiros de negócios dos Estados Unidos realizaram bleisure em ao menos uma viagem. Esta prática permanece como um tema relevante e reflete o crescimento de travel managers millenials.
Também reflete um aumento no investimento das companhias no bem-estar dos seus colaboradores, as quais além das facilidades como academias, áreas de recreio e jogos, também oferecem em alguns casos mais tempo livre; contexto no qual os colaboradores podem ter mais flexibilidade para fazer viagens de bleisure.
Um estudo lançado no ano passado feito pelo CWT Institute encontrou que os travel managers jóvens, com idades entre os 20 e 25 anos, fazem viagens de bleisure duas vezes mais que a taxa global.
Membros da GBTA podem ver o estudo completo aqui. (https://hub.gbta.org/groups/reviews/item/20/11/2483)
GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Anual Global Report e Forecast 2018 mostra crescimento em viagens de negócios a nível global e latino-americano
O gasto em viagens de negócio totalizou $1.33 bilhões em 2017. Isto inclui viagens individuais e em grupo, reuniões de negócios, serviço ao cliente, desenvolvimento profissional, reuniões internas de empresas e controle de qualidade e operações.
A atividade medida inclui também gastos reembolsáveis e não reembolsáveis por parte de travel managers em bens e serviços como hotéis, transporte aéreo e terrestre, restaurantes e entretenimento.
O crescimento global em viagens de negócio ultrapassou em 5.8% os níveis de 2016, o que poderia significar o final da era da incerteza nas viagens coorporativas globais, que permitiu somente um crescimento moderado de 3%-5% anualmente desde o ano 2012, devido a múltiplos fatores que desafiaram a economia mundial.
Isto coincide com a expansão da economia global até meados de 2016 com a participação chave de economias desenvolvidas e emergentes. Em efeito, o gasto em 15 dos principais 20 mercados para viagens de negócio no mundo cresceu além das tendências em 2017, ultrapassando a média global dos cinco anos prévios.
No caso da América Latina, o ramo de viagens de negócios se recuperou em 2017 ganhando 11% para contabilizar $51 mil milhões. Isto seguiu uma queda de 8% em 2016. O mercado dominante é o brasileiro. O mercado de viagens de negócio do Brasil se recuperou novamente no ano passado, aumentando em 12.7%.
Os travel managers do Brasil gastaram aproximadamente $30.7 mil milhões em 2017, com a décima posição mais alta no mundo. Outros mercados de viagens de negócio chave na América Latina também contribuíram positivamente ao crescimento regional em 2017 com Argentina, Colômbia e Chile obtendo 11.4%, 7.1% e 8.4%, respectivamente.
O 2018 GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Anual Global Report and Forecast é um estudo completo sobre o gasto de viagens coporativas, que cobre 73 países. Membros de GBTA podem ver o estudo completo aqui (https://hub.gbta.org/groups/reviews/item/20/11/2645).
Barceló Hotel Group aposta a hotéis urbanos
Grupo Barceló, depois da sua fundação em Maiorca, Espanha em 1931, deixou de ser uma companhia familiar de transporte para converter-se em um dos grupos turísticos mais importantes da Espanha e do mundo, por meio de sua divisão hoteleira e de viagens, com uma planilha de mais de 23.000 pessoas.
Em 2006, o grupo entrou no top 30 das cadeias hoteleiras a nível mundial e em 2007, a revista Hotel & Motel Management colocou a Barceló Hotels & Resorts no posto 28 do mundo por número de quartos. Em 2016, Barceló Hotel Group lançou sua nova estratégia múlti marca com um desenvolvimento importante na internacionalização do grupo. Sob esses novos padrões, a companhia diversifica seu portfólio de hotéis para oferecer melhores e mais específicos serviços a cada cliente segundo suas necessidades.
Isto inclui América Latina, onde os hotéis urbanos são um foco primordial para a companhia hoteleira, como o foi a aquisição do Barceló México Reforma, seu primeiro hotel na capital mexicana e um dos hotéis urbanos mais emblemáticos do Passeio da Reforma, com um total de 505 quartos e uma oferta de 26 salas de reuniões até para 800 pessoas, entre outros serviços. Também têm uma forte presença em Puebla e Querétaro, cidades de grande importância para a economia do país. Atualmente, o grupo possui 247 hotéis com mais de 54.000 quartos em 22 países.
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.