BUSINESS travellers spent about US$170 billion (HK$1,326 billion) in the Asia-Pacific region in 1994, according to the latest American Express survey. That represents 42.5 per cent of the global total. Historically, travel and entertainment spending (T&E) has been the third largest controllable expense for business corporations, following salaries and data processing. Ian Stewart, vice-president of American Express Travel Management Services in Hong Kong, said greater control, better management and planning of T&E spending had become increasingly vital for locally-based businesses in Asia when trying to compete on a regional or local basis. The purpose of controlling T&E costs was not to reduce business travel but to make corporate travel more cost-efficient, he said. 'With proper management, T&E expenses can often be reduced by between 15 per cent and 30 per cent,' Mr Stewart said. 'This can spell the difference between success and failure in today's highly competitive marketplace.' The chief components were air-fares, which accounted for 43 per cent on average, accommodation (21 per cent), meals and entertainment (25 per cent) car rental and others (11 per cent). The American Express Travel Management Service has a one-stop-shop for travel services and T&E expense monitoring for Corporate Card users.