At the official launch event in Moscow today, Paul Tilstone, Senior Vice President of Global Operations for GBTA, announced to a packed room of over seventy buyers that GBTA planned to bring globally recognised education, training and research to the region for the first time. Mr Tilstone said that the association had created a regional advisory board with diverse skills and experience to help them achieve their goals.

Appointed to the GBTA Russia Advisory Board are four Russian travel managers who join three Russian supplier members of GBTA to form the full, buyer-led board.

The buyer members of the Advisory Board are;

•           Marianna Uspenskaja - Regional Commodity Manager, Travel & Marketing from Siemens LLC

•           Angelika Kagan - Travel Manager, Facilities & Procurement from KPMG

•           Gayane Kocharyan - Travel Category Manager, Procurement from OJSC MobileTeleSystems

•           Maria Bobarykina – Global Head of Client Services from VTB Capital

Mr Paul Tilstone will chair meetings until a buyer has been appointed to the Chair role.

The supplier members on the Advisory Board are;

•           Ronald Schulz - Lufthansa German Airlines, Regional Director Russia and CIS and General Representative Russia for Star Alliance

•           Oxana Leonenko - Regional Director Global Sales Eastern Europe, Russia and Emerging Markets for Marriott International

•           Stanislav Kostyashkin - Chief Executive Officer for Continent Express

Talking about the launch event, which featured speakers from pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca and German manufacturer Continental, Paul Tilstone said, “The invitation launch event was substantially over-subscribed within days of invitations going out. This and the discussions we have had, demonstrate to us the real opportunity for an independent, buyer-led association to thrive in this region. I am very grateful for all of our new leadership volunteers to help to show us the right path for buyers in Russia. They are a very committed group who plan to help GBTA develop the right environment for buyers to benefit here in Russia and for GBTA’s global membership to understand Russian business travel issues better.”

GBTA Russia announced plans for a further Moscow event and a joint event with the Finnish Business Travel Association (FBTA) in St Petersburg in the fall of 2013.