An effort by the Obama Administration to go green may cause the U.S. travel industry to lose green, said the U.S. Travel Association on Wednesday.
Calling a White House plan “short-sighted and counterproductive,” the U.S. Travel Association protested against an effort by the Obama Administration to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions by cutting business travel by government employees.
The effort announced by President Obama on Tuesday would aim to reduce pollution from indirect sources, such as federal-employee travel and commuting, by 13 percent by 2010.
According to White House figures, the combined reductions to federal employee travel would be the equivalent of removing emissions from 235 million barrels of oil.
U.S. Travel, however, is emphasizing that less government participation in meetings, trade shows and other types of business travel will lead to job losses for American workers employed in the travel industry.
With around two million Americans working in the business travel industry, a decline in business travel would lead to job losses in an already tough economic climate. The travel industry has already lost more than 400,000 jobs over the last two years, and the BP oil spill may cause thousands more travel industry workers to become unemployed, the U.S. Travel Association said.
Instead of cutting business trips, U.S. Travel has encouraged the Obama Administration to work with the travel community to promote sustainable travel practices. Instead of arbitrarily encouraging employees to travel less for business, the association says that the White House should work to find ways to travel and be green.
U.S. Travel also cited an Oxford Economics study which found that government travel produces a more than 5 to 1 return on investment.
For every dollar the U.S. Government puts in, an average of $12.50 in incremental revenue and $3.80 in profits is created. That means that a 10 percent increase or decrease in government travel would affect the US GDP by 1 percent to 1.4 percent.
By Adriana Padilla at PeterGreenberg.com.
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