The Business of Travel


The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association

Tell Your Elected Officials the Business Travel Industry Opposes Another Tax Increase

Thanks to all of you who have already sent letters opposing an increase in the aviation security tax via the Legislative Action Center. Unfortunately, with the confrontational, intense budget negotiations in Congress, the fee increase is still very much in the discussion.

GBTA has been communicating and meeting with key members of Congress to voice our position that an increase in fees means a decrease in business travel. But we need you, the voter back home and most importantly, the business travel professional to deliver this message to Congress.

Please take five minutes to visit the Legislative Action Center and send the message that the business travel industry does not support efforts to increase this tax.

The only way we can be successful is by engaging and advocating for the industry!

A New Way Of Seeing Things

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending the GBTA Latin America Conference held at the Hilton Madero in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  The event was a success with over 350 business travel professionals from ten Latin American countries and the United States attending the two day event.  LATAM group photo

The great novelist, Henry Miller once said that “one’s destination is never a place, but rather a new way of seeing things.”  I have been traveling quite a bit, first to Prague and now to Argentina and during both of those trips I have been thinking that it’s important to our careers, to our profession and to the industry to be searching for, or at least be on the look-out for, a new way of seeing things.  Being able to attend both of these conferences has allowed me to look at our industry and the challenges we face in a new way. 

We assume that our challenges are regional, and many of them are, but as our companies become more global, so will our skill and mind set.  GBTA’s commitment as the leading authority on business travel management is only possible through collective voices, partnerships around the globe and the connection we have with our global counterparts. While we share commonalities in travel management techniques, each region around the world applies those same techniques in varied ways to fit both their culture and business approach.  It is through learning and hearing about those applications that we gain a better sense of our own techniques and knowledge set in order to approve upon them or just grow in ways we didn’t know possible.  Simply by being engaged, we will learn.

Door in Argentina

I say this again and again, but I am truly energized by the dialogue that ensues during these events.  I was especially struck by a panel in Argentina that comprised four chapter leaders from Argentina, Colombia, Peru and Mexico.  Their presentations discussed their geo/political landscape, economic challenges and how they intersect with their goals and objectives for the coming year and solutions to those challenges.  We need to look for fresh ways to share best practices with our affiliate and chapter networks outside our geographic footprint and for them to share with us.  There literally are no boundaries fencing us in as travel managers.  It’s not just a former Convention theme but a mantra we should all live by.  Attending events of any kind is another form of education.  I have learned so much from attending the GBTA Europe conference and GBTA Latin America conference and I know you would too.  I encourage all of you to attend a GBTA regional event and to be on the look -out for a new way to see things.

Fernando Montes, GBTA’s President of America Latina Argentina Chapter, said something in closing that has really stuck with me.  He said, “We give everything in us to make this come true.  Tomorrow we will feel empty.”  The empty feeling is not a sad one but rather one of being spent, where we have given our all and we have a strong sense of satisfaction.  

I know each and every one of you give all that you have to your jobs, families and to GBTA and I hope at the end of the day you feel a strong satisfaction from a day well spent.

Tell Congress You Oppose A Travel Tax Increase

Congress is once again considering an increase in the aviation security tax paid by passengers. As the Budget Committee tries to deal with the next round of mandatory cuts in agency budgets due to sequestration, any measure that brings in additional revenue or decreases spending is on the table.

We need you to let your senators and representative know that the business travel industry strongly opposes an increase – an additional $1.2 billion due to increases in the security segment fee on air fares. This is yet another tax or fee increase that will hit your bottom line. If your company’s travel costs increase, you may not be able to send as many employees on the road or end up selling your services to fewer. That is not good for your company, the business travel industry or the economy.

It is important to let your elected officials know that you want them to oppose a fee increase. Please send this Take Action letter as written, or feel free to include your own edits, and remember to either fill in the blanks or delete the sentence in the second paragraph that includes your profession and company.

You are the voice of the business travel industry. This is an opportunity for you to make that voice heard.

In the News: China Business Travel

Hello all! Although the recent re-election of one very high profile Governor in New Jersey, two closely watched races of the new Virginia Governor and the New York City mayor, and the much scrutinized ObamaCare rollout have dominated the headlines… the big story in our industry has been China.

We have received unprecedented news coverage lately about China’s business travel growth, and in particular that they are poised to surpass the United States as the world’s largest business travel market by 2016. Here is a sampling of this coverage (as prepared by our ever-diligent public relations lead, Colleen Lerro):

Hugo Martin of the Los Angeles Times wrote:

“As China’s economy continues to grow, so does their expected demand for business travel,” said Tad Fordyce, head of global solutions for Visa Inc.

The demand for air travel from China is expected to grow so fast in the next few years that several of China’s airports have had to double or triple their capacity, and the nation plans to build about 100 new airports over the next decade, said Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA.

Bloomberg Business Week reported:

Meanwhile, although less in the media spotlight, the market for domestic business travel in China is also growing quickly. According to a new forecast by the Global Business Travel Association, annual business travel spending within China is expected to reach $224 billion this year—up 14.3 percent from 2012.

And in the Miami Herald:

For years Americans have led the world in business travel spending. That is about to change.

The same story was told in many more publications including TourismReview.comAOL’s Gadling blogAssociations NowMeetings & ConventionsTravel News Digest and more.

All of these stories were driven by GBTA’s latest China BTI report. Twice a year, GBTA looks at economic trends and business spending to see where the business travel industry in China is headed. Some of the key findings:

  • Despite weaker than expected business travel growth in H1 of 2013, China should surpass the U.S. as the world’s most dominant business travel market as early as 2016.
  • China’s total business travel spending is forecast to increase by 14.3% in 2013 to $224 billion (RMB1,371 billion). The projected expansion of 17.2% in 2014 is more than twice the rate of the U.S.
  • Domestic business travel continues to outperform international outbound (IOB). In 2013, domestic travel spend should grow 14.3%, followed by another 17.2% in 2014.
  • Beijing Capital International airport is set to surpass longstanding incumbent, Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, as the world’s busiest airport.

China is growing its business travel market faster than any other nation, and continues to close the gap on the U.S. as the largest business travel economy in the world. The surge in Chinese business travel spend has been driven by domestic and international outbound business travel, with expansion noted for both transient and group meetings and events travel.

(Want more details on this report? The GBTA BTI™ Outlook – China is free of charge to all GBTA Members by clicking here. Non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing Paul Yachnes. If you missed our latest quarterly US BTI report, you can also check that out here.)