(Left) Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Senate Commerce, Subcommittee Chair on Tourism, Trade and Export Control receives the “GBTA Navigator Award” for championing business travel in the U.S. from GBTA CEO, Suzanne Neufang and Jonathan Simon, CEO, SPG Worldwide and GBTA Las Vegas Chapter Vice President. (Right) Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, receives the “GBTA Navigator Award” for championing business travel in the U.S. from GBTA CEO, Suzanne Neufang. — Photo by GBTA
  • 100+ GBTA Members Share Industry’s Economic Impact and Urge Legislators to Support Decarbonizing Air Travel and Improve the U.S. Visa System for Those Who Travel for Work
  • Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) Receive “GBTA Navigator Award” for Championing Business Travel in the U.S.

Alexandria, Va. - Members and constituents of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) converged last week in Washington D.C. for the GBTA U.S. Legislative Summit 2024 where over 100 participants met one-on-one with U.S. Senators, Representatives and their staff to share data-informed insights and advocate for policies that support a sustainable future for business travel.

As the premier global trade association for the business travel and meetings industry, since 2007 GBTA has hosted legislative summits to connect with U.S. policymakers to foster understanding, advocate for the issues that matter most to the business travel industry, and facilitate a better experience for business travelers.

Most U.S. legislators fly or commute weekly on business trips that enable them in their roles and to serve their constituents. We want to ensure they are informed about business travel’s unique purpose and value in bringing people together and fostering economic growth. We will continue working closely with policymakers to ensure our industry remains a driving force for U.S. competitiveness and foster a sustainable future for business travel and travelers. Suzanne Neufang, CEO, GBTA

Setting the Policy Agenda for Business Travel

Prior to meeting with legislators, Summit participants heard perspectives directly from members of Congress including Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL) and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (Delaware At-Large), as well as from experts on visa processing delays and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) production.

In close to 150 meetings with policymakers on Wednesday, June 12th, Summit participants shared key takeaways from GBTA’s latest report, the “GBTA U.S. Economic Impact Study: Business Travel’s Impact on Jobs and the U.S. Economy.” The report outlines how U.S. business travel contributes $484.4 billion annually, or 1.9% of the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP), based on the most recent full data available from 2022. Essentially, every dollar spent on business travel activity generates about $1.15 in GDP.

Participants also shared GBTA’s policy priorities for U.S. business travel for 2024-2025:

  • Focusing on passenger facilitation across the U.S. and globally to improve the traveler experience while ensuring their rights are fully protected.
  • Promoting sustainable business travel to support the industry ecosystem’s transition to cleaner fuel and more sustainable options through the deployment of solutions that materially reduce carbon emissions from travel.
  • Modernizing physical and digital travel and transportation infrastructure through the full funding of efforts to modernize air traffic control systems to improve safety and reduce delays and cancellations, along with improvement in intercity rail, infrastructure, and laws to enable cross-border travel and bookings.

Based on these priorities, GBTA constituents asked legislators to: 1) support the Farm to Fly Act that affirms SAF as an advanced biofuel and provide for greater U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) collaboration regarding SAF and 2) pass the Visa Processing Improvement Act.

Legislators Recognized by GBTA for Championing Business Travel in the U.S.

GBTA announced Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Senate Commerce, Subcommittee Chair on Tourism, Trade and Export Control, and Representative Sam Graves (R-MO), Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as recipients of its prestigious “GBTA Navigator Award.” First introduced in 2016, the GBTA Navigator Award is given to elected officials who have proven to be strong advocates of the business travel industry.

Over the last four years, Senator Rosen has led the charge on bringing back travel and business travel. In 2021 and 2022, her committees held two hearings that focused on the importance of travel in the wake of pandemic recovery. In 2023, Senator Rosen’s bipartisan Omnibus Travel and Tourism Act was signed into law. This legislation strengthens the U.S. travel and tourism industry by creating the new position of an Assistant Secretary of Commerce of Travel and Tourism, which was later funded fully funded, to coordinate tourism strategy across the federal government. There currently isn’t anyone in the federal government solely responsible for developing and coordinating this national strategy, which this bill will require for the first time ever. Aligned with GBTA’s policy priority to continue to advance travel infrastructure in the U.S., Senator Rosen led the charge to secure $3 billion in funding for Brightline West. This high-speed rail system to Las Vegas will bring opportunity for economic growth and is poised to bolster travel and tourism, create 35,000 good paying jobs, and reduce more than 400,000 tons of carbon emissions each year.

Representative Graves is a longtime supporter of business travel. This year he successfully led a long-term re-authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) bill. The bill supports upgrades to critical FAA systems to improve safety and efficiency for the national airspace, requiring studies to better improve accessibility and make necessary workforce investments. This would result in saving passengers time and money, reduce carbon emissions, improve the overall air travel experience for passengers with disabilities and create a long-term talent pipeline for the FAA and aviation industry. By ensuring this bill was signed into law, he addressed pressing aviation safety issues, improving the traveler experience and paving the way for integrating future technologies.

The GBTA U.S. Legislative Summit is the only event in the U.S. that advocates for legislation to make the business travel industry better. This year’s Summit was made possible by United Airlines, BWH Hotels, Enterprise Mobility and Cornerstone Information Systems.

About the Global Business Travel Association

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings trade organization headquartered in the Washington, D.C. area with operations on six continents. GBTA's members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA delivers world-class education, events, research, advocacy, and media to a growing global network of more than 28,000 travel professionals and 125,000 active contacts.

About the GBTA Foundation

The mission of the GBTA Foundation, the US 501c3 charitable arm of GBTA, is to help the global business travel industry create a positive impact and a better future for people and the planet. The GBTA Foundation focuses on the strategy and execution of GBTA's global sustainability programs, supporting initiatives related to climate action; diversity, equity and inclusion; and other talent-related topics via education, research and advocacy.

Debbie Iannaci
GBTA Global Communications, PR & Research
+1 305 301 7057