Travel Industry Warns Congress: ‘Witch Hunt’ on Travel Endangers Jobs Wed Feb 25 2009, by Travel Trade Staff

The US Travel Association has warned that Congress is close to conducting a “witch hunt” with its accusations that travel and entertainment expenditures are inappropriate for corporations accepting federal bailout funds. The Congressional witch hunt is costing workers in the travel industry their jobs.

Roger Dow, president and CEO of the US Travel Association, issued the following statement in response to the accusations against Northern Trust and the House Financial Services Committee’s call to return taxpayer dollars related to travel to the company’s recent Northern Trust Open PGA golf tournament.

“We agree that companies receiving federal assistance must be accountable to taxpayers for responsibly using public funds.

“But, we are perilously close to falling into a witch-hunt mentality in which working Americans are unfairly punished. For every case of wasteful spending, we are seeing scores of instances in which the game of ‘gotcha’ has forced businesses to cancel legitimate activities that would have grown their bottom lines and generated jobs and economic growth for local communities.

“Policymakers must realize that meetings and events are the lifeblood of local communities across the country. It is critical to protect legitimate travel spending and the millions of American jobs it creates. Meetings and events are responsible for 15% of all travel and create more than $100 billion in spending and $16 billion in tax revenue.”

Dow referred Congress to the guidelines on acceptable business travel practices issued by the US Travel Association representing the meetings, events and incentive travel industries. “We urge members of Congress to embrace these guidelines and protect American jobs,” he said.


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