In a move with potentially adverse economic impacts on the travel industry, President Obama signed an Executive Order that will cut waste and promote more efficient spending across the federal government, including directing agencies to reduce spending on travel.
One result, according to the White House, will be 27 percent less spending on travel in Fiscal Year 2012.
The Executive Order directs agencies to decrease travel and conference-related spending. “Increasingly, travel will be limited to circumstances where the activity can only be performed away from the employee’s primary office (e.g., a diplomatic mission or enforcement inspection). Employees will continue attending local meetings and conferences in person but expand their use of teleconferencing or videoconferencing technology to participate in meetings or conferences that would normally require travel," the White House said in a statement
“If agencies are hosting or sponsoring conferences, they will use conference space controlled by the federal government wherever possible. Each agency will designate a senior-level official to be responsible for reducing travel costs. Examples of steps currently being taken are:
• The IRS plans to utilize teleconferencing and webinars when possible, as an alternative to travelling to conferences and training sessions. This and other efforts will result in 27 percent less spending on travel in Fiscal Year 2012.
• The Department of Energy is reducing travel costs by reducing the number of conferences, utilizing video teleconferencing, and issuing non-refundable airline tickets when travel does not require changes. This initiative will save $15.7 million in Fiscal Year 2012.
• NASA is reducing travel costs by approximately $17 million in Fiscal Year 2012 by reducing the number of attendees at meetings and conferences, encouraging rental car sharing, and reducing foreign travel.