Mrs. Laura Bush, Former First Lady of the United States Spoke at 2013 GBTA Convention

Aug 07, 2013, 10:00 ET from Global Business Travel Association

Day's Events Included Travel Industry Leaders Gathering to Discuss Future of Business Travel at 'Luminaries of Travel' CEO Panel

GBTA Honors American Express President Ed Gilligan with Rare Industry Icon Award

SAN DIEGO, Aug. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mrs. Laura Bush, former First Lady of the United States, spoke as the keynote speaker at the annual 2013 Convention at the San Diego Convention Center. An expert world traveler, Mrs. Bush who visited all 50 states and nearly 80 countries during her husband's presidency, spoke openly about her passion for literacy and education, her time in the White House including experiences during the September 11 tragedy and life back in Texas. Mrs. Bush's appearance was sponsored by Orbitz for Business.


On the importance of education Mrs. Laura Bush said, "Every child in America should learn to read. Literacy is essential to the foundation for democracy. Books have the power to not just move people, but to transform a nation."

At the 'Luminaries of Travel' panel, Philip Wolf, founder and retired chairman for PhoCusWright, moderated the panel of industry leaders comprised of major travel suppliers including Michael Batt, founder & chairman of Travel Leaders Group, David Kong, president & CEO for Best Western and Steve Singh, CEO & chairman of the board of directors for Concur.

The power of technology to challenge traditional business travel approaches, the role of the sharing economy in business travel and open booking were the featured topics of discussion during the panel. "Business travel is no different from any other business when it comes to the need to understand technology," said Best Western's David Kong. "Technology is changing the world and you need to embrace technology as a change agent to be successful."  When the executives were asked about how they looked at the future, Steve Singh, CEO and Chairman of the board of directors at Concur, responded, "Companies must incorporate change into their business plans. They must plan for it, in order to be successful."

For just the sixth time in the Association's history, GBTA gave out an industry Icon Award honoring Ed Gilligan, president of American Express Company. This prestigious honor recognizes exceptional contributions to managed travel. Gilligan has dedicated more than three decades to American Express where he has run just about every important business at the firm domestically and internationally, and he is widely credited with leading American Express into the digital age.

Wednesday is the final day of the GBTA Convention 2013 and will feature former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

About GBTA Convention
The GBTA Convention, with nearly 7,000 attendees, is the largest, most comprehensive annual gathering of business travel and meetings managers, meeting planners, procurement professionals and suppliers anywhere in the world. The Business Travel Event of the Year ® features: more than 70 industry-leading education sessions organized into 20+ specialized tracks geared to specific levels of experience and a variety of disciplines; a 400+ company Exposition showcasing market choices not available at other industry gatherings; sessions featuring world-renowned speakers and industry leaders; a wide selection of professional development opportunities; and, much more. For more information on the GBTA Convention, visit

About the Global Business Travel Association
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) is the world's premier business travel and meetings organization. Collectively, GBTA's 6,000 plus members manage over $340 billion of global business travel and meetings expenditures annually. GBTA provides its network of 21,000 business and government travel and meetings managers, as well as travel service providers, with networking events, news, education & professional development, research, and advocacy. For more information, visit

SOURCE Global Business Travel Association