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by Michael J. Shapiro | May 16, 2012

A majority of senior finance executives (58 percent) will spend the same or more on business travel over the next 12 months, according to the fifth annual American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor, released Tuesday. In looking at types of trips, the survey of 541 executives found that 88 percent will spend the same or more on travel to meet with current or prospective customers. "As people try to retain or grow the business, they have to travel," said Jeral D'Souza, vice president and regional controller of Cargill Asia Pacific Holdings, and one of 20 senior finance executives interviewed in depth for the report. "In Asia, the culture of doing business is not by phone; a lot of it is by meeting face-to-face," D'Souza added. More than one-fifth of respondents (21 percent) said they were likely to spend more this year to attend industry conferences or other events. Overall, nearly two-thirds of the survey respondents (64 percent) continue to express optimism about economic growth, although that number is lower than it has been for the past two years.