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American Express' "Global Business Travel Forecast 2013" Finds Travel Costs t
o Increase Modestly Next Year Overall

Regional Spikes will Vary with Growing Economies Such as South America

By D.R. Stewart, Tulsa World, Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 20, 2012-- Global business travel costs will vary greatly in 2013, from significantly higher in the booming South American region to 8 percent lower in some European countries, an American Express forecast says.

Taken together, American Express' "Global Business Travel Forecast 2013" finds travel costs will increase only modestly next year.

"We are expecting a dynamic landscape for business travel in 2013, with prices likely rising to reflect companies' interest in doing business in growing economies such as Brazil, India and Russia, but staying flat or even declining in those markets where growth is stagnant," said Herve Sedky, general manager, American Express Global Business Travel.

In North America, steady demand and capacity discipline is expected to drive increases in business-class airfares of 1 percent to 3 percent for both short- and long-haul routes. Hotel rates are expected to increase 2 percent to 7 percent for mid-range properties and will be up 4 percent to 9 percent for upper-range hotels. Average car rental rates are expected to rise slightly, the study finds.

Strong economies in Latin America and consistent demand should increase short-haul economy airfares from 7 percent to 10 percent, long-haul economy fares from 5 percent to 8 percent, short-haul business fares from 3 percent to 6 percent, and long-haul business fares from 4 percent to 7 percent, American Express says.

The currency crisis surrounding the euro, austerity measures and generally low growth expectations are predicted to drive only low single-digit airfare increases in Europe, the Middle East and Africa in 2013, the report shows.

"Those markets hardest hit by the eurozone crisis may even see declining fares," American Express says. "Spain, for example, is projected to experience decreases in long-haul economy fares of -8 percent to -5 percent."

The study forecasts conservative increases in hotel rates in the EMEA regions, and car rental rates are expected to be relatively flat.

Wide variations in airfares, hotel rates and car rental costs are expected in the Asia Pacific region.

India is expected to see up to 8 percent increases in airfares, while a decline in exports, slowing construction and manufacturing sectors in China should lead to declines in travel demand and pricing that is flat to slightly down overall.

Hotel rates in the Asia Pacific region are expected to vary widely at both the country and city levels, the report says.

D.R. Stewart 918-581-8451


(c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)

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