More than 150 business leaders and travel industry professionals from across China, Asia Pacific and the US gathered at the Jin Jiang Tower Hotel in Shanghai for the inaugural GBTA China Conference from April 15-17, 2013.

The three-day event featured a programme of educational seminars about the fast-growing Chinese business travel industry, and was a chance for delegates to network with industry peers and forge new business relationships.

GBTA China Conference attendees were the first to hear Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO, present the key findings from the GBTA BTI™ China Outlook, Spring 2013 report, a semi-annual analysis of the world’s most dynamic business travel market. The report predicts that business travel spending will increase by 15 percent in 2013 as China remains on track to become the world’s largest business travel market by 2015. McCormick also announced an exciting new initiative, the founding of the GBTA China Chapter.

Throughout the three days of the conference, GBTA delegates shared best practices and explored emerging trends that generate savings and better utilization of resources in China. Alongside this, expert speakers and panelists discussed the unique challenges and opportunities that corporate travel management is facing due to the rapid growth of business travel expenditure in China and the Asia Pacific region.

The Keynote Speech at the 2013 GBTA China Conference was delivered by Professor Weng Jin, Vice Dean of the Department of Tourism at Fudan University in Shanghai, who spoke on the theme of “China’s Travel Industry: Future Trends and Policies.” George Cao, CEO of Dragon Trail and, gave a presentation about connecting with Chinese travellers by digital and social media.

Conference panels brought together Chinese and global travel industry leaders to discuss key business travel topics, including China’s new policy on international distribution companies, the role of TMCs in China, factors influencing the evolving Chinese airline industry, cultural differences of doing business in China, and the increasingly diverse landscape of China’s business hotel industry.

As a result of the success of the 2013 GBTA China Conference, the GBTA and Jin Jiang International Hotels have confirmed a commitment to continue their partnership, and will work together on the next conference, which will take place in Shanghai in April 2014.