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Global Passenger Network Bi-Annual General Meeting 28 February -1 March 2024 in Marrakesh, Morocco

GPN General Meeting Marrakesh

Global Passenger Network (GPN) Wraps Up Successful 2024 Spring General Meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco

MARRAKESH, MOROCCO – March 3, 2024 –Global Passenger Network (GPN) recently concluded its 2024 Spring General Meeting held from February 28th to March 1st, hosted in the vibrant city of Marrakesh, Morocco known as the “Red City”.

GPN Morocco – GM2 Tours, the host for the 36th General Meeting, orchestrated a remarkable event filled with unique experiences, immersive sightseeing tours, and lavish dinners accompanied by extravagant shows, extending a warm welcome to all GPN Members and Partners.

The welcome dinner, held on the first evening at Chez Ali, offered a delightful array of local dishes and an immersive folkloric show, reminiscent of the Arabian Nights.

The first day of the meeting commenced with a warm welcome from Agnes Pastuszak, Chairman of GPN, followed by an update on the organization’s latest activities and upcoming events. 

The Committee updates ensued, beginning with Thami Mourad, Chairman of the Partner Committee, who provided an overview of the committee’s activities and welcomed two new GPN partners:

  • Autolift presented by Jon Weatherhog & Gabriel Ovi
  • BUSUP presented by Eva Romagosa
Luis Pedrero, Chairman of the Membership Committee, highlighted the numerous contacts made with potential new members globally, and introduced AB Travel from the United Arab Emirates as a new member, represented by Fawad Hamayun. The meeting also featured panel discussions on reducing costs, moderated by Luis Pedrero, and on implementing yield management in the coach industry, moderated by Mark Anderson. Panelists included distinguished representatives from GPN member companies and strategic partners, who shared their insights and experiences.

Panelists for cost reduction session:

  • Richard Kirk, Commercial Director at First Travel Solutions (GPN Alliance Partner)
  • Abdul Hadi, Director at Al Badiah Transportation (GPN Saudi Arabia)
  • Prasanna Patwardhan, CMD at Prasanna Purple Mobility (GPN India)
  • Swayambhu Djwalapersad, CEO at Zwinq (GPN Strategic Partner)

Panelists for yield management session:

  • Claudia Boissoneault, Vice President at Autocar Excellence member of IMG (GPN Canada & USA)
  • Bjorn Ragnarsson, CEO at Reykjavik Excursions by Icelandia (GPN Iceland)
  • Niall Delaney, COO at EI Travel Group (GPN Ireland)
  • Miha Tavcar, CEO at Nomago (GPN Slovenia)

An open round table discussion allowed all participants to contribute their views and experiences on the topics discussed throughout the day.

After closing the meeting day, the participants enjoyed a horse carriage and walking tour of Marrakesh to enjoy the city and its market followed by a dinner at Lotus Club Restaurant whilst enjoying a spectacular show.

The second day of the General Meeting commenced with 2 educational sessions. The first titled “Implementing AI Technology in your company” presented by Catriona Walsh, Director at OSD Digital Marketing – a GPN Strategic Partner. Through this presentation, members learned about some of the capabilities and potentials of AI and how they can benefit coach companies in their business operation. The second educational session presented at the meeting was “Vehicle Optimization for lowering cost and CO2 footprint” presented by Sundeep Kumar P, Head of Travel Solutions | People Tranport Solutions at Scania – a GPN Strategic Partner.

As the ongoing shortage of drivers remains a significant hurdle in the coach industry we invited GPN members Loredana Matic, Marketing & Sales Manager at Brioni (GPN Croatia), Paul Cremers, CEO at Staf Cars (GPN Belgium) and Rogier Staal, CEO at Royal Oostenrijk Group (GPN Netherlands) to share the strategies they have implemented within their companies to address this pressing challenge, a session moderated by Keith McDonnell, CEO at EI Travel Group (GPN Ireland),

The last panel discussion of this meeting was focused on modal shift, as we aimed to delve into the concept of transitioning individuals from personal car usage to utilizing coaches as an alternative mode of transportation. We examined perspectives from various GPN partners, exploring their insights on this topic and their perspectives on necessary actions to facilitate this shift. Moderator of this panel was Mark Anderson, CEO at Anderson Travel (GPN UK) and panelists:

  • Arthur Pellemans, Manager Business Development at DAF Trucks – GPN Strategic Partner
  • Eva Romagosa, Co-founder & Chief Innovation Officer at Busup – GPN Strategic Partner
  • Mark Westendorp, Head of international Key Account Management & Global Tender at  Daimler – GPN Strategic Partner
  • Stefan Buettner, Expert Bus Product at Flixbus – GPN Strategic Partner

These sessions were followed by an open discussion in small groups enabling all participants to contribute with their views and ideas on topics presented during the day.

The meeting concluded with the announcement of the dates and location of the GPN 2024 Autumn General Meeting hosted by GPN Strategic Partner – Scania in Sodertalje, Sweden on 13-15 November 2024!

Steve Klika, Lifetime Honorary Chairman of GPN, as one of the founders of GPN, expressed his satisfaction with the successful General Meeting, emphasizing its importance in fostering global connections, knowledge exchange, and industry growth. He expressed gratitude to all participants for their active engagement and commitment to advancing the goals of the Global Passenger Network and encouraged all members and partners to be actively involved in all these activities.

In her closing remarks, Agnes Pastuszak – Chairman of GPN, emphasized the significance of the General Meetings in fostering collaboration and driving industry growth. She highlighted the interactive and engaging nature of the meetings, which contribute to the organization’s unified voice in supporting the coach industry’s interests on a global level.

“Our General Meetings are a vital part of our organization,” said Agnes Pastuszak. “They serve as a platform for learning, networking, and collaboration, enabling us to strengthen the coach industry’s global interests. We look forward to building on the momentum of this meeting and continuing our significant work in the autumn.”

The GPN looks forward to continuing this significant work at the upcoming Autumn General Meeting and beyond.

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