The Alexandria, Va.-based National Business Travel Association has taken significant steps toward going global. Since April 2, the association has had an Asia-Pacific subsidiary — NBTA-Asia Pacific — through a merger with an organization formerly known as the Australasian Business Travel Association.

NBTA views the Asia-Pacific region as “critically important to our future expansion into China and India, particularly in assisting our members to tap into the significant business opportunities available in these growth markets,” said NBTA President and CEO Suzanne Fletcher in a statement.

Just two weeks earlier, the association's Canadian arm — the Canadian Alliance of Business Travel — unveiled a new name and logo at its annual conference in Toronto. Now the National Business Travel Association-Canada, the group pledged to keep its “Canadian perspective” while continuing to work closely with NBTA on joint concerns, such as border-crossing issues.

The new branding follows the association's merger with NBTA in 2004, said Tanya Racz, NBTA-Canada president. “Three years ago, the dominant question was, ‘Will we continue to be a Canadian organization?’ Then the question I routinely got was, ‘Why aren't we called NBTA-Canada?’”

Might there be an NBTA-Europe in the future? Not likely, said Caleb Tiller, NBTA spokesman. For one, there's no overarching business travel association in that region. Also, he said, “We look at different parts of the world to determine the best way to serve that individual market and the companies based there.

“What we have started are several events in the past year in the U.K., Brazil, Mexico City, and Shanghai,” Tiller added. “The Shanghai event opens in two weeks, and the rest have gone so well that we're planning to do them again.”

NBTA represents more than 2,700 corporate and government travel managers, including a segment of members who are responsible for corporate meeting management. The organization made its first move toward becoming more global in 2002 when it co-founded the Paragon Partnership with four other business travel associations. The group has grown to include 11 members, including the Brazilian Business Travel Association, the French Business Travel Association, the Finnish Business Travel Association, and VDR — the Business Travel Association of Germany. The Paragon Partnership represents about 4,500 business travel buyers and suppliers, and its goal is to create a central voice for the global business travel community.