Obama’s Call for Less Government Travel Worries Industry

HIL ANDERSON, SENIOR EDITOR
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Washington, DC – President Obama’s back-and-forth relations with the business-travel industry took another step backward in July when he called on government workers to do their bit to curb global warming by reducing their travel. The president, who recently signed the U.S. Travel Promotion Act that had been championed by the industry, said in a July 20 statement that he wanted to see travel and commuting by Federal employees reduced 13% by 2020. Obama said Uncle Sam consumed more energy every year than any other single organization. “The government has a responsibility to use that energy wisely,” he said.

While Obama did not directly target trade shows and other face-to-face gatherings, the trade show industry reacted sharply to the perceived threat. The Convention Industry Council (CIC) was among the industry associations that urged the government not to make cuts to travel. “Simply reducing travel as a way of reaching greenhouse gas targets is not a holistic solution and will not encourage real progress toward sustainable travel and meetings,” said CIC CEO Karen Kotowski.

Kotowski said the APEX Green Meeting Standards being finalized this Summer would lead to significant progress in reducing the carbon footprint of meetings while “still facilitating the full range of activity necessary to accomplish the business of government.”

Reach Karen Kotowski at (571) 527-3116 or kkotowski@conventionindustry.org