Thursday, January 17, 2019

Los Angeles — The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) held its annual convention from July 26-30 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in California. This year’s event boasted guest speakers from industry experts to entertainers, an expo floor featuring the latest in travel technology and products from more than 400 companies, dozens of educational sessions catering to all ranges of knowledge and all facets of the business-travel industry, and a record-breaking attendance of 6,679 convention-goers.

Recurring themes punctuated the five-day event, as shaped by recent events and popular trends alike. According to GBTA Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer Michael McCormick, the impact of a sharing economy, the necessity of re-evaluating traditional approaches to travel safety, and the globalization of businesses were among the hottest issues of the 2014 convention.

“It’s no secret that the industry is becoming an increasingly global world. It is not just flights from New York to Los Angeles or Chicago in today’s world; it is fights to Shanghai and Dubai,” McCormick says. “To be competitive and grow, businesses need to be everywhere.”

McCormick cited the recent attack on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 as “a wake-up call” for businesses that send people to all corners of the world, urging corporations to take responsibility for the safety of its travelers. “Duty of care and risk management is a vital component of today’s business travel,” he says.

Some of the convention’s speakers added a dose of levity to the seriousness of business, with actors Kevin Spacey and Jason Alexander offering their audiences entertainment, anecdotes, and advice. Other speakers included Twitter’s co-founder and co-inventor Biz Stone, American Express Global Business Travel’s president Bill Glenn, Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole, and Google’s Director of Travel Partnerships David Pavelko.

The GBTA Foundation, the educational and research arm of the association, announced its new initiative, The Gift of Knowledge, on the event’s final day. The Gift of Knowledge aims to implement a program that will develop travel management as a viable occupation in China, and will be partnering with China’s Fudan University to create an educational curriculum to train future travel professionals.

The 2015 GBTA Convention is scheduled for July 25-29 in Orlando, Fla.

Visit gbta.org for more information.

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