The travel industry is a $1.25 trillion global industry. In the United States alone, it generates 3 percent of the U.S. GDP and supports 7.1 million jobs. U.S. companies will spend almost $300 billion this year as they send their business travelers on the road for more than 500 million trips. Yet the business travel experience is often overlooked.

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has mobilized its members to develop a declaration of travel reform called the Rules of the Road. GBTA promotes travel safety and security, and that focus underlies the eight basic principles of the Rules of the Road. Because global business travel is more complex than ever before, the nation’s road warriors deserve this new set of principles. The Rules of the Road should guide industry, business leaders and policy makers in creating a travel ecosystem that fosters growth, jobs, safety and efficiency around the globe.

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Above all, business travel professionals deserve safe and secure means of passage from start to finish. Among other key issues, the business traveler should not shoulder an undue tax burden. Too often, taxes on hotels, rental cars and other aspects of travel are used to raise funds that are not reinvested in the industry. This approach discourages business travel and thus ultimately reduces economic activity – a negative outcome for everyone. Rather than dissuade it with excessive taxes and fees, governments should promote business travel. 

The business traveler deserves fair competition, clarity in fees and transparent communication from industry suppliers. From the time they leave their home until they return, business travelers should expect broadly accepted levels of comfort, choice, control, safety and expediency. New technologies offer opportunities for an improved travel experience. These technologies and new innovations need to be vetted, however, to ensure there is a positive impact on the travel ecosystem, including safety and duty of care. Connectivity has also become an indispensable technology for business travelers and should be developed and implemented wherever and whenever it is secure and responsible to do so.

As the travel industry consolidates, both domestically and globally, it is imperative that there continue to be a mutually beneficial relationship among buyers, suppliers and travelers. With profitability for suppliers comes market responsibility; they must address the issues of the companies that pay the bills and the employees that fly the miles.

GBTA will always ensure that the interests of the travel buyer, their companies and their travelers are well represented. The new Rules of the Road asks stakeholders in the business travel community and policy makers on Capitol Hill to take significant steps to optimize the global business travel infrastructure—making it safer, more secure and more productive.


Michael W. McCormick is the Executive Director and COO of the Global Business Travel Association