ITM to drive NBTA Europe
The US-based National Business Travel Association (NBTA) has announced its first formal foray across the Atlantic with the creation of NBTA Europe.
The buyer-led organisation has contracted the Institute of Travel and Meetings, based in the UK and Ireland, to drive the new operation.
After months of talks which started at the NBTA conference in San Diego in August, ITM chief executive Paul Tilstone (pictured left) has been appointed managing director of NBTA Europe while AstraZeneca's business travel boss and immediate past chairman of ITM, Caroline Strachan, has started a two-year tenure as chairman.
Five other European travel buyer organisations - the Danish Business Travel Association, the Iberian Business Travel Association of Spain, the Netherlands Association for Travel Management, the Norwegian Business Travel Association and the Swedish Business Travel Association - have received automatic membership for the first year.
Tilstone said the new network had "great plans" for the next 12 months.
"We will be able to make a real impact on the industry in Europe as we take the size and experience of NBTA, add it to the knowledge and passion of local European associations and use the drive and innovation of ITM," he said.
NBTA's global president, Craig Banikowski (pictured right), called Europe an "important and complex" market which deserved a "cohesive, buyer-led network".
He said the formation of NBTA Europe was designed to bring together travel and meetings stakeholders across the continent.
Meanwhile, Michael McCormick, NBTA's chief operating officer, said the European arm was launched in response to demand from existing members.
"[Members] have told us that they want NBTA to help them tap into an integrated network of colleagues across the globe. NBTA Europe is the latest addition to the network of regional affiliates, which already connects members of organizations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, and the United States."
Buyer and supplier members will form an advisory board which will be headed by Strachan. Members of the board are to be announced next week while a partnership council is also to be devised.
www.itm.org.uk www.nbta.org www.nbtaeurope.org