The head of the Government Services Administration (GSA) recently was forced to resign following reports of excessive spending for a meeting near Las Vegas and the controversy has continued to receive ample attention on Capitol Hill and in the media. With this being an election year, and with the highly partisan political climate in Washington, this story has the potential to lead to further attempts to cut travel for meetings and conferences and could pose serious consequences for our industry. This week the rancor over the GSA’s irresponsible behavior has continued to mount as committees on Capitol Hill have held back-to-back hearings examining the October 2010 GSA Las Vegas conference and other inappropriate spending.
U.S. Travel quickly issued a statement noting that this controversy is about poor decision-making, not the value of travel, and it is critical that we reinforce the value of legitimate business travel and government meetings.
What’s At Stake?
Meetings and events matter to the travel industry and the U.S. economy. In 2011, meetings and events generated $99 billion in direct travel expenditures, which supports 859,000 American jobs and contributes $15 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.
What You Can Do
1. Help us educate policymakers about the value of meetings and events. The U.S. Travel Association has developed a suite of toolkits to help you articulate the economic impact and business productivity of face-to-face meetings, events and conventions. Please visit the toolkit page to access these resources.
2. Call your representative and senators and tell them, “I support responsible federal travel. Please preserve the right for federal workers to travel responsibly and hold accountable anyone who breaks the rules or squanders taxpayer dollars. My job depends on it.” Click here to look up your elected officials’ phone number.
These kinds of potential threats affect the entire industry and we need your help! Let’s work together to protect the travel community from unintended consequences as policymakers work to ensure a more responsible government.