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February 8, 2009

Travel community to issue ‘Best Practice Standards’ to corporate America

Leaders from key organisations representing the travel, meetings and events industries recently issued a statement regarding US government efforts to curtail meetings, events and incentive travel programmes among companies that have received emergency government lending.

The message laid out the importance of the travel industry to the US economy, stressing the need not to overreact to the US Government’s comments, and expressing concern over the potential consequences if this was not heeded.
“Americans expect Congress and the Obama Administration to responsibly and effectively oversee the use of taxpayer dollars to companies receiving emergency government lending,” read the statement. “Americans also expect the business community and elected leaders to protect jobs and help the country rebound as quickly as possible from the current economic crisis.
“We are extremely concerned about the unintended consequences of unnecessarily restricting corporate meetings, events and incentive travel programs. Business-related travel generates 2.4 million American jobs, $244 billion in spending and $39 billion in tax revenue at the federal, state and local level. State and local governments rely on this revenue to fund basic government programmes such as education, healthcare and unemployment insurance.”

The statement went on to reveal the negative effects of the downturn on the travel industry, while pledging to issue best practise standards on meetings and events to US companies.

“At a time when the Department of Labor reports a loss of nearly 200,000 travel-related jobs in 2008 and US Commerce Department data predicts a loss of an additional 247,000 in 2009, elected officials and corporate America must take a thoughtful approach to managing the use of taxpayer dollars,” it continued. “Prudent organisations already have in-place travel and meeting management policies that ensure an effective return on investment for stakeholders. In the coming days, the travel, meetings and events industries will provide the business community with additional standards for meetings, events and incentives that demand transparency and accountability.”

Summing up, the statement read: “Travellers are an important solution to the economic problems that ail our country. The travel community looks forward to working with America’s elected leaders and businesses to ensure that we keep America moving.”

The bodies supporting the statement included:
– American Hotel and Lodging Association
– Destination Marketing Association International
– Meeting Professionals International
– National Business Travel Association
– Professional Convention Management Association
– Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE)
– US Travel Association

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