The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA)’s annual convention that brings together over 7,000 business travel professionals from more than 50 countries worldwide has been moved from the end of July to November 2020 which was supposed to take place in Denver, in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the U.S. and the strict travel restrictions now in place that would impact on both domestic and international attendance.
Scott Solombrino, chief operating officer and executive director of GBTA said, “This is the first time in GBTA’s 52-year history of the convention that we have had to reschedule our signature event. Our hope is that the pandemic will pass within the next few months and we will be able to resume our normal activities. But if that is not the case, we may need to push convention back further.”
Business travel has become the default casualty of the coronavirus pandemic by coming to a halt across the globe. According to the latest research and poll conducted by the GBTA, the numbers are dire. To understand the coronavirus’ effects on business travel, GBTA conducted its fifth lightning poll among the members on April 1-4, 2020.
GBTA received responses from almost 1,000 member companies throughout the world. “The survey shows that travellers are eager to get back on the road, which is a positive sign for future business travel. Once this pandemic is successfully combatted, business travel can return to being a positive economic driver of the global economy,” commented Scott Solombrino.
According to the poll, almost every GBTA member company (98 pc) reports cancelling and/or suspending all international business travel. In addition, most (92 pc) report they have cancelled or suspended all or most domestic travel. GBTA members vary in terms of when they expect business travel to resume. Slightly more than half expect travel to resume within the next two (32 pc) or three (19 pc) months, while 16 pc are unsure.
GBTA ranks India as the seventh-largest business travel market at $46 billion, having grown north of 10 pc annually for the last six years. In a post-COVID-19 scenario, how Indian business travel market will react remains to be seen.
“This will be a massive opportunity for countries like India, Vietnam, Indonesia and Thailand. Further, every time there is a global recession, Indian business and consequently business travel has grown substantially – post 9/11 and then again after the 2008 recession. The economic arbitrage that India offers for IT/Tech outsourcing/BPO and other knowledge-based processes should be in high demand,” commented Gaurav Sundaram, the president of Prokonsul, a business travel and corporate travel consultant and former regional director of GBTA India.