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 November 12, 2014
Europe's Biggest Business Travel Conference Opens Against Backdrop of Berlin Wall Celebrations

 The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and German business travel buyer association VDR -- today opened their joint event GBTA Conference 2014 | Berlin, which this year incorporates VDR's autumn symposium.

To a backdrop of celebrations in Berlin watched by the world, Visit Berlin CEO, Burkhard Kieker, opened the conference with a moving speech on the developments that led to the fall of the wall; his experience of the night itself and the journey Berlin has been on ever since. This message of courage and the power of positive action was reinforced by featured speaker, Debra Searle MVO MBE, professional adventurer who inspired delegates with her mantra of "choosing your attitude" to overcome the challenges that life brings.

The conference has received overwhelming support from the industry, selling out two weeks before its opening. Over 800 delegates from more than 22 countries across the globe have come to Berlin for what will be Europe's foremost business travel conference, hosted just days after the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

"While businesses continue to be mindful of unnecessary expense and productivity, it's evident that travel managers and suppliers alike are prepared to invest in the development of their knowledge and networks," said Catherine McGavock GBTA's Regional Director for EMEA. "The spirit of the Berlin Wall celebrations pervades the event and our industry. We are thrilled with the response to this conference. GBTA in Europe has been founded on strong partnerships with likeminded associations and the success of this event demonstrates clearly the success that such collaboration can achieve."

"The extraordinary response is overwhelming. The 800 participants show that the interest and the need for a common European platform for business travel is bigger than we expected it to be", says Dirk Gerdom, President of the German Business Travel Association VDR. "The VDR is the contact for business travel in Germany, with a strong network within Germany. GBTA is our major international partner, working alongside us to help shape the future of business mobility."

The full conference programme is available on


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 7,000-plus members manage more than $345 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA and the GBTA Foundation deliver 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.


Verband Deutsches Reisemanagement e.V. (VDR)

The VDR represents the interests of German industry and deals with the general and competitive conditions surrounding business trips and mobility. It campaigns for efficient, economical, safe, unhindered, worldwide travel possibilities for companies. The VDR with its over 530 member companies represents a total annual turnover in the business travel sector of more than EUR 10 billion.