Fallout from the scandal over General Services Administration's (GSA) Western Regions Conference in 2010 hit the industry this week
, with the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) canceling its National Travel Forum (NTF) planned for June 4 in Phoenix.
The forum is billed by GBTA as the "largest and most important government travel event of the year," one where the GBTA and federal and state agencies, including the GSA, collaborate on education programs for government travel and relocation specialists.
The GBTA said yesterday that it had been notified by the GSA that it was no longer able to support the event. In a letter to exhibitors, attendees and sponsors
, GBTA President Mike McCormick said the GBTA "has no choice but to postpone" the forum, even though he said no government funds were used to create it.
"GBTA staff members and volunteer leaders from the GSA have spent countless hours developing the NTF program together," McCormick wrote. "And, although we at GBTA firmly believe that there is no more appropriate time for government travel professionals to learn cost-cutting strategies from top corporate travel managers, hear from business and academic leaders, build key relationships with industry suppliers and reinforce ethical behavior standards, we cannot hold this important forum without GSA's participation."
The GBTA's letter was sent out the day before Congress voted to cut and freeze travel spending
by government agencies for five years, an apparent response to the GSA scandal. As passed by the House and the Senate, the measure would cap travel spending by government agencies at 80% of their 2010 level through 2016. Follow Johanna Jainchill on Twitter @jjainchilltw.