By Daphne Bryant, GBTA Foundation
In July of 2014, the GBTA Foundation announced the “Gift of Knowledge” initiative in China to bring industry-leading education to this rapidly growing market. As the world’s largest business travel market, there was a clear need for innovative, comprehensive education for business travel professionals in China. Through a collaborative partnership with a leading Chinese educational institution and visionary leadership from our Gift of Knowledge sponsors, the Foundation worked to deliver on its mission.
In the past twelve months, we have conducted nine workshops with an average of 55 attendees per session in Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen and Chengdu. It has been a highly successful program and one that we were committed to continue. However, forces outside of our control are causing us to put an immediate hold on the future business activities, including the “Gift of Knowledge” initiative in China.
In April, the Chinese government announced it had passed new regulations slated to take effect on January 1, 2017, causing uncertainty for many foreign non-profit organizations operating in the region. We are currently awaiting further guidance on how to meet these requirements along with other organizations who will be impacted.
There is no grace period allowed for meeting the new requirements, which include needing to rent local office space, receiving pre-approval for business activities and formally partnering with a Chinese organization.
Until the new operating requirements are fully understood, we are unable to make commitments for our future education programs in China. We hope to be able to continue in the future, but until we receive further guidance on how to operate within the new regulations, we will delay further efforts.
We look forward to the Chinese government providing guidance concerning these new regulations as soon as possible, so that we can resume operations in China. We will keep working toward this effort in hopes that we will find a resolution and can continue producing quality education programming to continue to elevate the business travel profession in China.