17 AUGUST 2020

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Article from BTNews 17 AUGUST 2020

COMMENT: Conventions and Networking When will they return?

Last week BTN ran a story that the Business Travel Show had been cancelled.  Fact!

Northstar, now the US owner of the gathering previously owned by Centaur, said it had not been cancelled but postponed.  Also a fact.  It’s a question of splitting hairs but BTN is happy to proclaim that the show is planned to take place at ExCeL London 22−23 June 2021.  The announcement also stated it is to be a ‘hybrid’ show which BTN now gathers means a physical event with exhibitors and visitors, conference content, networking and show features.  It is a long way off and it will be interesting to see if the major travel management companies, hotel operators, airlines and meeting service providers will put deposits on space and support the project.

The question is why bother with the word hybrid and just say the show is going ahead with innovations.

BTN’s real concern is not the loss/postponement of a single show, and many others over the last few months, but the message being put out by World Aviation Festival and the like that we should all go virtual.  Aviation means travel.  It means interacting and not sitting in front of a computer screen. It does not generate revenue either.

Parliament plans to return live to Westminster on 1 September.  It is setting a great example and a fine illustration of networking.  Business is done, as they say ‘in the corridors of power’. 

In London there are over 1,000 diverse meeting venues and 140,000-plus hotel rooms across the capital.   They need real people to fill them.  But it also requires the courage of conference organisers and backers looking towards the autumn period and having the confidence to move ahead. 

With six international airports and direct flights to 400 destinations, London is one of the best-connected cities worldwide.  It needs to remain at the top.  A vital part of that success is the networking business, conferences and the like.

This Government has yet to demonstrate its understanding of the airline industry and its role in the commercial success of the country.  It now must to offer the meetings community some practical and financial support.


POSTSCRIPT


ABTN (Air and Business Travel News) started life as a printed biweekly travel trade publication in the 1980s, going electronic around the turn of the century under the present proprietor, becoming BTN (Business Travel News Ltd) in 2012. 

We always worked closely with the Business Travel Show, even taking a booth from time to time. 

The change of ownership last year was noted but the same management stayed in place and with the February 2020 event BTN gave prominence to the show director with an ON THE SOAPBOX just three weeks before it opened. 

You can imagine utter disbelief when on the opening of the show BTN Europe was announced, with a similar logo, in effect, in our opinion, ‘passing off’ that product as BTN.  All kept secret, a pre-show interview suggestion with the director turned down, the reason now patently obvious.

Can we make it quite clear that BTN Europe has no connection whatsoever with the real BTN and that any opinion stated by that publication is that of Northstar Group, and its employees.

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


David Bentley, Manchester

I'm not convinced removing APD will make any difference, too many people are too scared to fly; that's it. And tax has to be generated somehow. The country's broke. As for the restaurant subsidisation scheme being 'nonsense' it has helped save countless jobs.


Michael Johns, Truro

APD. Remove it. At one sweep the government will demonstrate its commercial convictions.


Toby Clark, London

If Minister Shapps were to announce the cancellation of APD it would send a message all around the world that Britain was open for business.


Jacob Smith, Holborn, London

A general election is a long way off but Mr Johnson needs to be reminded that he represents a constituency very much dependent on Heathrow. The government has supported some dubious schemes over the last few months. It is about time it realises we are a trading nation and need to trade. Taking away APD for a few months will help. Fattening up the country for three days a week is nonsense.


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