Travel Industry to Congress: GSA Conference About Poor Decision Making

Concerned with the economic impact of the 2010 General Services Administration (GSA) conference scandal on Las Vegas and on the travel industry, the U.S. Travel Association said Congressional probes should focus on  encouraging responsible government travel.

The association warned of the damage calls for investigating all government conferences held in Las Vegas could do to the destination and the industry.

"Any Member of Congress who thinks this issue is about a particular destination is missing the forest for the trees," said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association. "Anytime, or in anyplace, that federal officials spend taxpayer dollars irresponsibly, it is an affront to the American people and the hardworking men and women of the travel industry."

"Congress should hold accountable those individuals who choose to flout the federal travel rules and regulations, and strengthen oversight so those rules are followed in every part of the United States," Dow said.

Dow also noted that the federal government should conduct travel on the basis of necessity, cost and value provided to the taxpayer, which would not exclude any destination in the country from receiving government business.

"If Congress is serious about curbing wasteful government spending, they should encourage federal employees to seek the best value when traveling and to follow the rules when doing so," said Dow.

"Responsible and cost-effective government travel is a must, no matter where it occurs. Excessive government spending is wrong, no matter where it occurs. Congress should consider nothing else beyond these two principles when dealing with this issue – or they risk ostracizing one group of hardworking Americans in favor of another, " Dow said.