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Travel Management

 October 31, 2006
American Express Business Travel - Rapid Sales Growth in Asia Pacific

 American Express Business Travel has reported year on year sales growth in excess of 20 percent in most key markets across Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia (JAPA). Heightened demand from growth industries across mid-sized companies to multi-national organizations has broadened the company's mix of clients to deliver healthy new business sales. New management appointments have combined with a series of strategic business investments in key partnerships and expanded service and solution capabilities to well position the company to serve this diverse client base.

Nearing her first year anniversary in the role and speaking at the China Business Travel Forum in Shanghai, Libby Roy, General Manager and Vice President for American Express Global Business Travel, Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia said: "The greater use of more sophisticated corporate travel tools has had a significant impact on the bottom line of both MNCs and local companies. Moreover, it signals the growing maturity of these markets as travel management is being seen and used as a business tool offering a competitive advantage, not just a cost cutting opportunity.

"Our Japan, Asia Pacific and Australia market is a fast growth business, and we're making investments across the board to help clients identify the greatest opportunities for improved savings and control as well as implementing real, workable solutions. We have moved beyond the booking agent model still followed by our competitors to instead provide the full spectrum of travel and expense management services. Such innovation is driving the market for travel services to new heights."

Sales Growth Adds to Diversity in New Client Signings

"While the demand for corporate travel varies significantly within individual markets across the region, we are seeing rapid growth in key markets lead by China and India. These markets also create a positive ripple effect into other markets in the region.

"By its sheer size and continued economic expansion, we see tremendous potential in China with year to date sales already up 41 percent on last year. While it is a complex environment -- in terms of multiple language requirements and routing outside the Global Distribution System -- it is an important worldwide travel market for companies seeking to build relationships and do business there.

"The need for businesses to travel so that they can take advantage of areas of strong economic performance has outweighed potential security fears. As a result the areas of strongest demand mirror the industries and market segments that are themselves experiencing healthy growth.

"For example, rapid growth in India is being fuelled by the extremely successful information technology and communications sector where we have signed on new clients such as Polaris Software Lab Limited.

"Similarly, in Australia 30 percent year on year growth in new business sales has been driven by new accounts in the mining sector, such as Barrick Gold, reflecting the current resources boom. We have also found that mid-sized organizations are turning to managed programs from their TMC to better monitor and control their travel expenditure.

Strategic Partnerships Enhance Company's Reach and Local Impact

Throughout 2006 American Express delivered on its commitment to expand and strengthen its business travel, purchasing and payment services footprint across the region. In March American Express Business Travel and Transnational Diversified Group (TDG) launched American Express Transnational -- a joint venture that formed the largest travel management company in the Philippines. In May American Express Business Travel and Atlantic Pacific, the business travel division of listed travel company Gullivers Travel Group, entered into a partnership that created one of New Zealand's most experienced business travel service providers.

New Service and Solution Capabilities Enrich Client's Experience

American Express recently launched two key offers designed to specifically focus on the top priorities for business travellers in the region -- traveller security and expense control.

Security Suite - With heightened safety and security concerns around the world, employers increasingly recognise the importance of their duty of care to ensure the health and safety of employees when travelling on business. In response, American Express Business Travel rolled-out three tools and services that provide corporate travel managers with up to date travel news and information to better prepare and manage the security of their employees when travelling: TrackPoint enables travel managers to pinpoint traveller whereabouts at any time. Travel Alert and Info Point are information services that provide details about specific travel destinations.

Benchmarking Analysis - As part of the new Travel Advisory Services, American Express launched Travel Insight Plus, a benchmarking consulting service, which identifies specific opportunities for savings in air travel expenditure for a given organisation. Travel Insight Plus is now available in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Singapore Taiwan and Thailand.

Management Appointments Broaden Expertise and Effectiveness

In a move to provide more specialised corporate travel focus and expertise to clients, the JAPA Business Travel organisation recently expanded with the creation of 10 new positions. These include three senior regional roles, all reporting to Libby Roy:

• Justin Morgan has been appointed as Vice President Client Management JAPA. Originally from Australia, Justin was most recently Vice President Cobrand Development for American Express in the US where he worked closely with airlines and other travel companies.

• Sandeep Shastri is the new Head of Client Management Global Business Partners / Multi National Companies for JAPA. In this role Sandeep leads the regional client management team focused on mutli-market clients. He was previously responsible for leading the development and implementation of technical solutions for American Express Business Travel in the region.

• Kurt Knackstedt has been appointed as Head of Field Effectiveness and Advisory Services. In this newly created role Kurt will identify unique strategies for acquiring, expanding and retaining business as well as continuing to grow travel consulting offerings for Advisory Services. Kurt comes to American Express from Galileo where he was most recently the Senior Director of Corporate Travel Strategy.