The ACTE Column: Action Stations

Now, more than ever, we need to unite as an industry and share best practice.

As we embark on 2012, we can look back and reflect on what was a 'cautiously optimistic' year. We saw confidence return to the market and in many areas have seen some level of growth, despite austerity measures in the UK and in many other countries in Europe and beyond.

There is still global economic fragility and we are on tenterhooks to see what will happen to the euro. Will it survive or will we see a return to the drachma, lire, punt, franc or even the mark? The economic landscape is, at best, uncertain.

Greece, Italy, Ireland and the French have all lost their Standard & Poor's triple AAA rating and, if any or all default on their debt and withdraw from the euro, the financial burden to shore up the shortfall will move to other economies. Despite the downgrade in its financial rating, France is in reasonable shape compared to many other countries and the German economy is strong, so they are likely to bear a far greater burden of any defaulted Euro debt. Greece has already had 50 per cent of its debt written off as it was discovered to be more than four times above the acceptable Euro partner level.

While the UK can feel relieved it resisted the single currency, we are not exactly home free. Our economy is still inextricably linked to the euro as much as the dollar and the yen, and the consequences of its success or failure have equally far reaching implications for us.

So, perhaps after a more confident year in 2011 we all need to focus on strategic investment and smarter ways of working. Cost control will undoubtedly be top of most corporate agendas through 2012. Now more than ever we need to unite as an industry and share best practice with each other.

I for one, however, am quite energised about the prospects for 2012 and am expecting a very busy year ahead. After the excitement of establishing Russia as a new corporate travel market for ACTE members in early 2009, I will be picking up the reins for ACTE in the Middle East as well as developing additional programming for the Nordics - all fascinating regions and brimming with potential.

Once again ACTE will provide the education content for BTM London and will also plan the education sessions for GIBTM in Abu Dhabi. It's going to be a busy year. Make sure you join us - check our full programme of events throughout the year at

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