Everyone in the meetings industry remembers the $823,000 bill the General Services Administration racked up in Las Vegas at its 2010 Western Regions Conference. In 2014, the GSA won’t be making any type of similar headlines. For the second year in a row, the GSA has decided to cancel its main annual event, the GSA Training and Expo.
“In the current fiscal climate, agencies and businesses alike continue to make tough spending cuts and operate under reduced travel budgets,” a statement on the official GSA Expo website reads. “After careful review of projected attendance and continued travel budget reductions, GSA has made the decision to not hold an Expo in 2014.”
SEE ALSO: Federal Budget Cuts Cancel More Meetings
While the GSA has not announced plans to completely remove the conference from future calendars, the signs don’t point to a promising return.
“GSA remains committed to addressing the need for training and will identify the most effective way to offer Expo 2015 to deliver better value and savings for our government partners, our vendors, and the American people,” the statement continues.
GSA officials did not respond to requests for additional comments or offer any type of timeline for a decision on the 2015 event.
Government agencies are all facing the challenges of providing essential education while remaining under spending scrutiny. At the Centers for Disease Control, virtual training courses have replaced 100 percent of face-to-face meetings, and the GSA cancellation indicates a similar approach: the website directs attendees toward a “wide array of online and virtual training.”
Prior to the GSA scandal, this meeting typically welcomed approximately 10,000 attendees each year. The GSA Expo of 2012 showed the serious impact of the scandal: attendance dropped to under 6,000.
SEE ALSO: How the GSA Effect Is Hurting Government Meetings
Worried about how the federal government’s tightening restrictions on travel and conference spending could impact your next meeting? Click here to visit PCMA Advocacy Central to find out how you can make sure that lawmakers hear your support for face-to-face meetings.