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Spending In Phuket Exceeds Pre-Tsunami Levels

For immediate release

INTERNATIONAL VISA CARDHOLDER SPENDING IN PHUKET EXCEEDS PRE-TSUNAMI LEVELS

SINGAPORE, 6 April 2005 - Spending by international Visa cardholders in Phuket, one of the more popular tourism destinations affected by the 26 December tsunami, is exceeding pre-tsunami levels.

In the week ended 26 March, international Visa cardholder spend in Phuket was six percent higher than the same period in 2004. At the national level, Thailand has returned to its pre-tsunami year-on-year growth rate of 30 percent for the week ended 27 March.

In the Maldives, where tourism spend had dropped during the four weeks ended 6 February to a 51 percent year-on-year decline, international card spend is near breakeven (a one percent year-on-year decline for the week ended 27 March).

During the six consecutive weeks from 13 February to 27 March, year-on-year growth in international card spend in the six tsunami-affected countries increased from 11 percent to 19 percent. These signs of recovery highlight the region's tourism resilience.

Visa released this latest data in the Visa Tourism Update bulletin, issued to monitor the immediate economic impact of the tsunami disaster on affected countries from a tourism perspective, focusing on the crucial area of spending by international visitors.

Visa International

Visa is the world's leading payment brand generating more than US$3 trillion in annual card sales volume. Visa has unsurpassed acceptance in more than 150 countries. The Visa organization plays a pivotal role in developing innovative payment products and technologies to benefit its 21,000 member financial institutions and their cardholders.

Visa is a leader in Internet based payments and is pioneering the creation of u-commerce, or universal commerce, the ability to conduct commerce anywhere, anytime, and any way. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

Visa Asia Pacific

In Asia Pacific, Visa has a greater market share than all other payment card brands combined with 62 percent of all card purchases at the point of sale being made using Visa cards. There are currently 238 million Visa-branded cards in the region. In 2004, US$475 billion was spent at point of sale or withdrawn from ATMs in Asia Pacific using Visa cards. Visa Asia Pacific's Internet address is www.visa-asia.com.


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