Strategic Meetings Summit London, 26 September,
September 29 2022, Kimpton Fitzroy London
Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
While business travel is well on the path to recovery, the challenges yet to come may place even tougher tests on the resilience of the sector, according to the chairman of the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC).
Speaking at the GTMC’s annual overseas conference, held at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, Mike Hare said business travel had proven itself to be the “vanguard” of economic recovery.
With more business travellers on the road for longer, holding more meetings and netting more sales, comes a sure sign of economy growth, said the Portman Travel CEO.
While business “looks promising” – matched by a buoyant mood at the conference – TMCs “don’t face a world without challenges”, said Hare.
“It could be argued that the coming two or three years may well be for many the most testing period for our sector," he said.
“Technology, infrastructure, regulation and taxation, geopolitical unrest, climate change, and economic developments will all step up the challenge to the status quo.”
Hare said the industry should expect and prepare for continuing changes in the business travel landscape: “The only constant in life is change.”
He used the example of the recent changes in the Middle East – “a very difference place today than it was just six months ago” – and its consequent effect on the price of oil.
“It’s not $100 a barrel we’re worried about, it’s now $200,” he said.
Hare also cited the effect of this winter’s snow on Heathrow airport: “Our airport infrastructure creaked in a way that defied belief and created not only an industry embarrassment but a national one.”