The Business of Travel

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The Official Blog of the Global Business Travel Association


GBTA Legislative Symposium Underway

GBTA’s 2014 Legislative Symposium is underway. This morning more than 90 GBTA members from across the country gathered to hear Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV) before they head off to Capitol Hill for a day of meetings with their elected representatives. Rep. Heck thanked the group for our support of the Jolt Act and encouraged the audience to seek additional sponsors of the bill.

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The Symposium kicked off yesterday with Diane Bradley, Chair of GBTA’s Government Relations Committee, welcoming attendees and reminding them that their efforts will drive home to our elected officials how critical business travel is to the economy. It is you, our members, who know this firsthand and are the best people to tell Congress that business travel drives business growth.

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GBTA Executive Director and COO Mike McCormick told members that advocating on behalf of the industry is about lowering barriers so people can travel more efficiently – and always safely – around the world.

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The highlight of the afternoon was a visit from Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) who is the Republican co-chair of the U.S. Travel & Tourism Caucus. He talked about the importance of travel and tourism and why he supports the Jolt Act and expanding the Visa Waiver Program. Rep. Bilirakis said the goal of the Caucus is to form a national policy that promotes travel to and within the United States.

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The rest of the afternoon was rounded out with informative talks from Cornerstone Government Affairs providing an overview of Congress as well as projections for after November. They also did a deep dive into issues impacting the business travel industry including TSA security fees, the Passenger Facility Charge, the JOLT Act and the INVITE Act. Discussions followed about how the meetings with representatives would go and John Keast of Cornerstone reminded everyone that advocacy is about building a relationship – not a once a year proposition. DSC_1237

An evening reception was highlighted by remarks from Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii. Sen. Schatz told attendees that what he loves about tourism and travel is that it knows no ideology and is one of just a few issues that still enjoys good, deep and broad bipartisan support.

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“When we support travel and tourism, we create an economic incentive to take care of what is special about our hometowns,” said Sen. Schatz. He added that working in travel is not just a gig, it’s what you do and who you are and pledged his support for the industry.

The day’s events provided a great backdrop for today’s meetings on Capitol Hill. Remember you can make a difference for the business travel industry and your voice matters. Follow today’s events on Twitter with the hashtag: #GBTALegislative14 and if you couldn’t make it this year, we hope you’ll join us next year.


GBTA's Legislative Symposium Fast Approaching

The Legislative Symposium is fast approaching. On June 24 - 25, the business travel industry will be descending on the Nation’s capitol to spread the message that safe and secure business travel drives economic growth. High priority issues for the business travel industry include the possible doubling of the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) piling on to an already substantial list of taxes and fees as well as efforts around improving the facilitation of global business travel among others.

View the resources and information that will be covered at the Legislative Symposium.

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Follow LIVE! And new this year, you can follow the event as it unfolds through tweets, messages and photos from the GBTA official twitter handle and by following the event hashtag: #GBTALegislative14

Support your colleagues in Washington, D.C. Visit the GBTA Legislative Action Center and send a message about the importance of business travel to your Senators and Representative.  

Comp Registration: Win a complimentary registration to the 2015 Legislative Symposium. Also new, the Government Relations department  will be running a contest, if you let us know on Facebook or Twitter that you spoke out with the hashtag - #GBTALegislative14 - then one person will be randomly selected to receive a comp to next year’s Legislative Symposium!


GBTA Continues to Expand Global Resources with India Business Travel Forecast

As GBTA becomes increasingly global, we continue to develop new resources that will be useful to our members and the industry from a global perspective. Just a few weeks ago, Donna Kelliher our President and CEO wrote to you about the new Global Leaders Directory 2014, which enables you to connect with key leaders around the world in our industry.

Last week the GBTA Foundation released its inaugural GBTA BTI™ Outlook – India report. It will become part of a semi-annual business travel outlook and overall economic analysis of India. The report, sponsored by Visa Inc., includes the GBTA BTI™; an index of business travel spending that distills market performance over a period of time, adding India to the growing list of countries that GBTA conducts these business travel forecasts for.

The report shows India has become the 10th largest business travel market in the world, working its way up over the last 15 years from number 24. GBTA expects India to continue moving up these rankings and should pass Italy to become the 9th largest market in the next five years.

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The outlook for India’s business travel is positive. After a period of economic growth stuck below 5 percent along with soaring inflation, GBTA projects total business travel spending for India to grow 2.1 percent in 2014 to $24.9 billion USD. An improved outlook for the Indian economy, however, should bring business travel spend back on track in 2015 as GBTA expects 7.6 percent growth to $28.8 billion USD.

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Driven by both the tremendous growth of the middle class and size and multitude of business centers throughout India, domestic business travel spending has dominated, comprising 90 percent of total business travel spend in the country.

International outbound business travel spending also plays a role however. It has been extremely volatile in recent years and is only expected to gain 1.1 percent in 2014, but will see major improvement in 2015 as GBTA projects 7 percent growth to $2.6 billion USD due to renewed strength among India’s major trading partners including China, Europe and the United States.

Domestic business travel spend is also expected to slow in 2014 only growing 2.2 percent. Thanks in part to the recent election results providing a boost in business and investor confidence, domestic business travel spend will also regain its footing in 2015 advancing 7.7 percent to $24.2 billion USD.

The recent landslide victory of Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party in India’s May elections have renewed optimism for more pro-business reforms and accelerated infrastructure investment. Even incremental success in these efforts should eventually spark greater economic and business travel growth, although insufficient infrastructure will continue to present challenges to this growth.


American Express Global Business Travel President & CEO Bill Glenn Coming to Convention

Our list of featured speakers for GBTA Convention 2014 just keeps growing. The latest addition to our impressive lineup of speakers is Bill Glenn, President and CEO for the new American Express Global Business Travel joint venture.

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The joint venture with an investor group led by Certares, resulting in an unprecedented $900 million capital infusion, marks the largest single investment made in a travel management company, and is scheduled to close just before Convention.

Bill is sure to provide unique insight for attendees navigating the business travel industry who will have the chance to hear directly from Bill about his strategic vision for the new company and opportunities across the industry. His unassuming style and candor will bring a refreshing point of view about the issues facing the future of our industry.

This Center Stage session will be a can’t miss opportunity for attendees.