Hotel and Lodging Group Denounces Travel Cutbacks

Posted on April 29, 2009 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) delivered a letter to President Barack Obama Monday in response to his Administration’s announcement that the Veterans Administration is reducing its business travel expenditures to find budget savings.

This move, in response to the Obama Administration’s pledge to find $100 million in savings over the next 90 days, sets a bad precedent that will affect the lodging industry and our national economic recovery, and impede government operations, according to the association.

Excerpts from the letter:

“Our industry is concerned that if other government departments follow the lead of the Veterans Administration and arbitrarily cut government business travel in an attempt to find quick budget savings, the economic recovery your Administration has promised America will be negatively affected and government operations will suffer as well.

“While the Veterans Administration only spends a small portion of the federal travel budget, further cutbacks in this area will lead to hourly wage earner job losses in the $139 billion U.S. lodging industry, as well as in the larger $738 billion U.S. travel industry which employs 7.7 million workers across all its operations. Business and government travelers help support the nation’s lodging and travel infrastructure while they perform their duties.

“Arbitrarily cutting federal travel is a dangerous idea to push in times of a weak economy. Federal travel dollars, while portrayed as a way to save money, actually cost more than they will save. For each dollar not being spent on a federal travel program there is one less dollar that will be spent to hire new American lodging employees or purchase hotel-related products created by American workers.

“Small businesses will be directly impacted by reflexively cancelling meetings. Forty-four percent of the federal hotel spending was outside of the top 26 hotel brands. Small businesses are the engine of economic growth in America, and if our smaller properties are the unintended victims of cost-savings measures, they will not be able to provide the new jobs your economic recovery programs are promising. Some communities are more highly dependent on federal room travel nights, such as a hotel near a military base. These properties and communities are very dependent on government travel, and to cut back on room nights will be devastating to those communities.”

For the complete letter from AH&LA President and CEO Joseph McInerney, Click here.

Serving the hospitality industry for nearly a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all sectors and stakeholders in the lodging industry, including individual hotel property members, hotel companies, student and faculty members, and industry suppliers. For more about AH&LA, Click here.

Source: American Hotel & Lodging Association

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