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Seconds out

The gloves are off as the organisers of next year's London Business Travel Show expand the event to become Business Travel Week - and a rival event is launched.

Centaur Media, supported by the Institute of Travel Management (ITM), is planning five days of focused activity for the corporate travel market between February 9 and 13.

The highlight will be the 15th annual Business Travel Show, which takes place at Earls Court 2 from February 10 to 12. Buying Business Travel is the official media partner for the event, which this year attracted some 250 exhibitors and more than 7,000 visitors.

New geographical 'pavilions' will be a feature of the 2009 show, focusing on specific countries and global regions. Sector showcases - technology, CRS and business meetings - created last year, are to be expanded.

According to event director David Chapple, Business Travel Week has been designed to "unite the European business travel industry, provide buyers and suppliers with a crucial platform to stimulate debate, push the sector into the limelight and heighten its profile throughout the rest of industry".

It will incorporate a mix of exhibitions, conferences, awards and networking events, including showcases for Business Meetings, Travel Buyer Technology and Business Travel Online (all scheduled for February 10 to 12); and the Travel Technology Show (February 10 to 11).

Centaur is inviting third party companies to host additional events, such as awards evenings, drinks parties, open house days and press events, to sit under the Business Travel Week umbrella alongside the current line-up of activity.

The planned new show - Business Travel Market - is the brainchild of Paul Robin, former event director of the Business Travel Show. The two-day event is scheduled to take place on June 17-18 at ExCel London in Docklands.