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Latin America&the Caribbean with fastest growth rate for AMEX Business Travel

Reporting from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) Global Conference and Latin America Summit, American Express Business Travel named Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) as one of the…

Reporting from the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) Global Conference and Latin America Summit, American Express Business Travel named Latin America & the Caribbean (LAC) as one of the Company’s fastest growth markets in 2006 – up 20 percent on a total travel sales basis – following Greater China and India.



The Company, which operates in 40 LAC countries and through more than 300 travel service locations, also revealed that small-to-medium sized enterprises accounted for 65 percent of its 2006 LAC annual dollar sales volume. Additionally, American Express appointed Juan de Lapuerta to Vice President and General Manager for Business Travel LAC.



New General Manager appointment for the region



Based in Mexico City and reporting to Andrew Winterton, Senior Vice President, Business Travel, Juan de Lapuerta will lead client general management and sales, as well as the Company’s partner network of licensed travel service providers. Key elements of de Lapuerta’s mandate include delivering maximized savings, service and control to clients through the Company’s differentiated approach to business travel management.



“Previously, as LAC Vice President for Global Supplier Relations and the Partner Network, Juan advocated for our clients, with key air travel suppliers, ensuring mutually beneficial relationships on both sides of the supply and demand chain. Earlier in his career, he directed business development efforts for American Express LAC’s travel and commercial card units, again demonstrating negotiation and relationship management expertise. Juan’s value-creation mindset and unique mix of supplier and client management experience is perfectly suited to the LAC market,” said Winterton.



Airline Fares Increase with Demand



American Express Business Travel has also published its 2006 LAC airfares index. Comparing 2006 with 2005, the average domestic/short-haul economy fare for Latin American and the Caribbean countries increased 2.7 percent, while the international/long haul business fare grew 4.4 percent. Price increases were driven by strong business travel demand associated with economic growth and commercial activity across all the LAC market.



Notably, Argentina’s average short-haul fare spiked 18.2 percent to $133.17, Brazil’s increased 11.6 percent to $175.75 and Chile’s rose 10.4 percent to $272.75. However, in Mexico, new domestic carrier entrants increased airline fare competition and helped to push average short-haul fares down nearly 5 percent.



Comparably, Argentina’s, Brazil’s, Chile’s and Mexico’s average long-haul fares increased 11.7 percent to $803.12, 4.4 percent to $475.81, 1.2 percent to $635.95 and 2.4 percent to $379.47 respectively.

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