Pax Global Media
Business travel in Canada is poised for a strong, evolving future, according to some takeaways from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Canada Conference 2023 held in Toronto from May 15-17.
GBTA welcomed Canadian business travel pros and companies to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre for its annual regional event.
According to a press release, more than 685 registered business travel buyers, suppliers and other attendees and 58 exhibitors came together for main stage presentations, panel discussions, and education sessions along with Canada volunteer recognition and the conference’s signature “Big Night Out” networking event.
“Bringing together GBTA’s business travel community for insights, learning, and face-to-face connection time are all key to navigating and growing the sector in Canada. This event engages industry professionals and organizations in better understanding and preparing for the future of business travel while also enabling them to engage and learn in an incredible peer-to-peer environment,” said Nancy Tudorache, regional vice-president-Americas, GBTA.
Topics focused on critical priorities and opportunities in the Canadian business travel sector including: travel manager needs of the future; traveller evolution and the passenger journey; insights on the roll-out of New Distribution Capability (NDC); sustainability in business travel; and rebuilding the industry workforce.
The event also included numerous buyer and supplier sessions, networking opportunities, and a special welcome event for new and returning industry professionals.
Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA, presented Canada-specific forecasts from GBTA’s Business Travel Index (BTI) Outlook report as well as overall insights and trends ahead for the industry.
With most global business travel on the rebound post-pandemic, based on the last GBTA BTI, in 2022 Canada was projected to have year-on-year growth of 47 per cent.
At that pace, Canada is among the top 15 markets worldwide for business travel spending with $15.2 billion USD for 2022.
In 2023, the forecast for spending growth is 32 per cent, or a total of $20.1 billion USD.
Based on current forecasts, Canada is expected to be back at pre-pandemic levels in 2025 with an annual business travel spend of $26.1 billion USD, or over $35 billion CAD.
A panel of experts took the stage from the Hotel Association of Canada (HAC), National Airline Council of Canada (NACC), Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA), and Meetings Mean Business Canada (MMBC) to discuss the current state of the Canadian travel business industry from each association’s perspective.
Jeffery Latimer, CEO, Canada’s Walk of Fame, presented the session keynote, “Proudly Canadian, No Apology Necessary,” highlighting some of the greatest Canadians and their achievements with video and stories.
Renato Grandmont, chief investment officer, Link Capital Advisors, LLC, outlined on the main stage the issues and trends impacting Canadian businesses from the view of a global economic lens.
Richard Bartrem, president, 13 Stories Marketing, Inc., delivered the closing keynote about the importance of trust when it comes to companies, their brands, and the customer experience.
The association also announced Shelly Lewchuk as this year’s winner of the GBTA Volunteer Inspiration Award, and also recognized Jodi Francks and Marayka Wilson as the Business Travel Service Award (BTSA) winners for Canada.
Ketwaroo-Nanoo named regional director
GBTA also announced at the event that Sharlene Ketwaroo-Nanoo has stepped down from the GBTA board of directors and will now join the association as its regional director for Canada.
Ketwaroo-Nanoo’s new role is effective immediately.
“Sharlene has been an active and valued GBTA Board member. We are excited that she has now joined the association to execute on an excellent strategy. With her deep knowledge and involvement in Canada, the region is in a strong position to continue to grow and thrive under her association leadership,” said Denise Truso, GBTA board president.
“And with heartfelt appreciation, on behalf of the GBTA leadership and team, we’d like to recognize and thank John Pease for his contributions and expertise serving as our interim leader for the region over the past months.”
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