Skift Take

This is a cruel blow for an event that was designed to instill confidence in corporate travel, after the Global Business Travel Association's successful U.S. edition in Orlando.

The emergence of the Omicron Covid variant  is prompting the postponement of a major in-person travel industry event from next week until later in February.

The Global Business Travel Association was due to hold its European conference, in partnership with VDR, in Berlin, Germany from Dec. 6-8.

This is the first major global event to take action based on Omicron.

“Due to the new and dynamic developments around the omicron variant, and newly instated travel and meeting restrictions, GBTA will now be rescheduling the Berlin in-person conference for late February 2022,” said CEO and executive Suzanne Neufang on Tuesday.

Host country Germany is reportedly considering tighter restrictions, alongside neighboring Switzerland. Austria, which also shares a border, entered lockdown last week.

“We are reminded this week that nothing is easy or predictable with regards to getting to the other side of this pandemic,” said Neufang. “In a matter of days, the world has seen the rise of the omicron variant as a new factor on the pandemic landscape, which is why public health, resilience and agility must be our new norm in the business travel industry.”

Earlier this month, the Global Business Travel Association successfully hosted another convention in Orlando, Florida, in the U.S..

Meanwhile in France, Accor cancelled a Dec. 1 event that was to be hosted by CEO Sebastien Bazin to celebrate the hotel company’s partnership with the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games at a central city venue.

The company said the decision to postpone the event was made following the latest announcements and recommendations from the French government, and for the safety of all a few weeks before the end-of-the year holidays.

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Tags: berlin, coronavirus, corporate travel, europe, gbta, omicron variant

Photo credit: The Global Business Travel Association was due to hold its European conference, in partnership with VDR, in Berlin, Germany from Dec. 6-8. Levin / Unsplash