Business travel costs surging on high fuel costs, demand: survey

NEW YORK, Oct 23, 2007 (AFP) – Business travel costs around the world are expected to see a big surge in 2008 with air fares pushed up by rising fuel prices and hotels rates squeezed by growing demands, a survey showed Tuesday. The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast said hotel rates are especially pressured in major cities around the world because new construction has failed to keep pace with demand.

Some regions are facing unusually high demands including cities in India where hotel rates are likely to rise as much as 40 percent; the 2008 Summer Olympics is expected to be a factor in pushing up lodging costs in China, the report added.

For US companies surveyed, the average cost of a domestic trip is expected to rise six percent to 1,110 dollars and 6.9 percent for an international trip to 3,171 dollars, including air travel, lodging and car rental.

“Travel managers and procurement professionals can expect another capacity-restricted, challenging year and a continued push to keep travel and entertainment budgets in check,” said American Express Business Travel vice president Mike Streit.

Streit said some relief in air-travel costs may come from the US-European Union “open skies” agreement that