Throwback Thursday – GBTA, The Early Years

This August in San Diego, GBTA will host its 50th Annual Convention. We are excited to celebrate this milestone with all of you. Leading up to Convention, we will be featuring Throwback Thursday (#TBT) posts every week on the GBTA Blog sharing pieces of history from the annual Convention, the travel management industry and general travel history. All of these pieces have helped the travel industry and GBTA Convention become what they are today.

For 50 years, GBTA has provided a platform for managed travel professionals to share new best practices, policies and solutions to the industry’s greatest issues. How did it all begin?

Many of you know that GBTA was previously the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) before going global in 2011. However, not everyone will remember that NBTA was not the original name of the Association. In 1968, the National Passenger Traffic Association (NPTA) was founded in New York City.

Original Logo of the National Passenger Traffic Association

Seven corporate travel associations came together and agreed to support NPTA’s efforts:

  • Passenger Traffic Association of New York
  • Women’s Passenger Traffic Association of New York
  • New Jersey Travel Managers Association
  • Delaware Valley Passenger Traffic Association
  • Passenger Traffic Association of Southern California
  • Twin Cities Passenger Traffic Association
  • Montreal Passenger Traffic Association

George W. Runnion of the Union Carbide Corporation served as the first president of NPTA, demonstrating strong leadership and helping to quickly grow the new Association. By 1969, membership grew to 344 direct members and the first membership directory connecting travel managers was produced.

View a letter sent to Runnion from Remington Rand in 1962 while he was still with the Passenger Traffic Association of New York on the importance of having a travel manager:

Actionable research and whitepapers have been important since the beginning. Here is the cover of a report on travel agents and commercial travel prepared by the  Passenger Traffic Association of New York along with the Women’s Passenger Traffic Association of New York:

Twelve Questions to Ask About the Travel Agent and Commercial Travel

In 1970, the Bronxville Review Press – Reporter happily reported that NPTA had chosen Bronxville as the location for its national headquarters:

Bronxville Newspaper Article 1970

In the early years NPTA hosted its annual conferences in hotels across the country. The first one was in Washington, D.C., in 1968. We have certainly come a long way. GBTA Convention 2018 will showcase 400+ exhibiting companies, an agenda featuring 100+ education & professional development sessions and 7,000+ attendees representing over 50 countries. We hope you join us in August 2018 as we continue our momentum forward.

Stay tuned every Thursday for more throwback posts. Share your Convention memories with us on twitter using #TBT and tagging @GlobalBTA.

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