We’re currently running a survey and while there’s still time to participate, initial responses are showing a paradoxical picture: 100% say corporate travel is an industry and not part of tourism; yet in a follow-up question, less than 10% say corporate travel is an industry – and 50% say corporate travel is just something one does.

Where’s the disconnect?

Tourism is a social, cultural and economic phenomenon which entails the movement of people to countries or places outside their usual environment for personal or business/professional purposes.

This definition is used by the UN World Tourism Organization and clearly indicates that both leisure AND corporate travel fall under the tourism umbrella. Yet, the word ‘tourism’ for the past few decades has moved ever further away from the business side and become almost synonymous with leisure travel. On the flipside, in corporate travel we often forget about the social and cultural aspects of tourism and focus solely on the economics.

And why does it matter whether corporate travel is linked to tourism or not?

It matters when we’re trying to push corporate travel education: should it be for tourism students? Yes, as it’s part of tourism. But wouldn’t other studies also benefit from at least a basic understanding of corporate travel? I’m thinking Human Resources, IT, Finances, Business Administration, Business Management – even Marketing might benefit to provide the social and cultural sensitive presentations for travellers (though that might be a bit farfetched). They all have significant touchpoints with corporate travel: travel managers and travellers. And at the moment they have no idea what they’re up against.

Remember: corporate travel isn’t only about the traveller (much as the industry is trying to argue the point). It’s also about the corporations.

At the end, corporate travel is the business version of tourism.

Together we can #TranformCorporateTravel.


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