Industry veterans Mike McCormick and Ed Silver plan Tuesday to launch an advocacy group to help facilitate business travel’s return.

“When I look at all the collective industry recovery efforts to date, I see so much well-intentioned activity,” McCormick said in a video posted online. “Unfortunately, I think we would all agree that we are not getting the result we need to not only survive, but to set up a faster road to sustained recovery. We need common industry messaging, deeper collaboration on industry standards and combined efforts on government-backed relief financing and future government policy.” 

They described the effort, called the Travel Again Project, as “independent” and “not-for-profit.” It would start by focusing on “restoring traveler confidence,” reflected in a new consumer and corporate traveler confidence index that McCormick said could produce leading indicators.

“Business travel drives business growth,” said McCormick during a Monday briefing. “I fully believe in the importance of business travel in driving the economy. We’re not suggesting everyone should run out and travel today. That’s not a realistic message.”

The group would move into lobbying in the hopes of helping ensure “travel industry priorities are included in any additional Covid-19 relief legislation this year.”

Travel Again is seeking members, but not for a fee. 

“At some point, if we do need or want some financial help and support in terms of expanding polling, or maybe there will be a need for funding for lobbying, we’ll firm that up,” said McCormick. “There are different ways to structure it and some steps to take. We wanted to wait a little bit and collectively understand the need in the marketplace.”

The principals approached other organizations and received verbal support, McCormick said. Silver has been involved with the Travel and Meeting Standards Society; both are former leaders of the Global Business Travel Association. GBTA traditionally participates in lobbying but at the moment is in the midst of a “thorough review” following a leadership crisis.

“From a policy perspective, business travel has been underrepresented recently,” said McCormick. “We don’t need another trade organization, per se. This is more of a project and a campaign than a new organization — a way to get people to sync their efforts.”

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