UK – USA Business Travel
- Richard Moss
8 Colourful Business Destinations for Bleisure
Travelling for business can be a rather grey world. Airport lounges and hotel business suites are too often minimalistic and uninspiring, and then there are the meeting’s, conferences and exhibitions themselves. There is a lot of psychology behind colour. There is evidence to suggest colour can substantially effect a person’s mood, positivity, energy and productivity. Chances are, that the business destinations you travel to are full of life, culture, history and COLOUR.
Across the many business destinations we book for our clients here at Your Travel Corporate, we have hand selected our top 8. If you find yourself with a spare hour or two on your business trip at one of these incredible locations, why not explore these colourful sights?
Hong Kong is one of the world’s largest trading entities and a significant financial hub ensures floods of visitors annually. The city is regularly crowned as one of the top business destinations in the world, as well as the world’s freest economy. Often dubbed the ‘city of skyscrapers’, the streets of Hong Kong are overflowing with suits and briefcases.
After a busy day of meetings and calculations, take to Victoria Harbour for the A Symphony Of Lights show. This is a daily light and sound show (8.00pm local time) and the world’s largest according to Guinness World Records. An incredible 42 buildings and skyscrapers participate in the show across both sides of the harbour. The best viewing location is from Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, however, my favourite way to catch this show is on a Chinese junk boat ride. These rides will include refreshments, and a guide providing details of all the buildings participating.
Top Tip: Hong Kong can be quite a polluted city and on some nights visibility may hinder. If you have several nights in the city, try to pick a clear night for the show.
Barcelona is a top business destination in Europe for three reasons. Firstly, it is popular with the MICE sector with thanks to it’s large, renowned conference and event venues for business travellers. Secondly, Barcelona is also a centre point in Western Europe with plenty of travel options. Lastly, it is also a firm favourite due to to it’s welcoming nature and the abundance of things to do in your downtime.
Parc Guell is one of the many masterpieces from the great architect Antoni Gaudi. Situated on Carmel Hill with exquisite gardens, architectural elements, stunning views and colourful tiles, the park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top Tip: The park can get very busy, even mid-week. Whenever I visit Barcelona, I pre-book my ticket from the official website and get there early. The ticket also includes a free bus ride from a nearby metro station, consequently making the park more accessible. Prepare yourself for plenty of walking, on often uneven paths and some steep slopes.
Paris has a famous luxury fashion industry and this has often dominated the business scene. Since 2013 the city has been rising in the technology sector, with École 42 nurturing entrepreneurs and start ups in coding. Furthermore, an increased backing from the government for new business has grown France into the 7th largest economy in the world.
Do you like to indulge in a bit of sport? If you have some downtime, consider getting a team of colleagues together for a quick game of basketball! In the 9th arindossement, snuggled between residential buildings you will find a quirky, irregular shaped basketball court. The Pigelle Duperré court was first decorated in 2009 and is currently in rich gradients of blues, pinks, purples and orange, with support from Nike.
Top Tip: It is slightly off the beaten path (a 15 minute walk from the closest business hotels), but worth it for a refreshing break from the office. It is also a great idea for team building, all whilst in a completely unique setting that you won’t find anywhere else! Public opening times can vary, but the court is most commonly open 12pm to 6pm daily.
Amsterdam is one of the top business destinations for conventions/ conferences, hosting 650 a year, resulting in 700,000 international visitors. The city has a fantastic arts and architectural hub, as well as success in the fields of IT, Tech and Medicine.
This is a city you won’t want to miss exploring outside of working hours. It is full of pretty canals lined with quirky buildings, plenty of sights and a lively nightlife. Take a wander through the streets close to the major sights (the church, museums and grand square) and immerse yourself in the incredible street art.
Top Tip: Wijdesteeg and Spuistsraat have the highest collections of street art in the area. Buildings are adorned with larger than life murals and the cobbles are painted colours of the rainbow. The art was produced by the free-spirited creative scene of squatting artists in the area, until squatting became illegal in the Netherlands in 2010. Look out for the work of Hero De Janeiro, known for his intricate bright puzzle pieces.
Singapore is a global transportation, manufacturing and financial hub with several renowned convention centres for business events. The cities largest industry is manufacturing and covers electronics, biomedical sciences, optical and other medical apparatus and transport/logistics engineering.
If you find yourself in the Chinatown area of the city, you could discover the Sri Mariamman Temple. It was founded in 1827, serving as a refuge for new immigrants. It is the oldest Hindu temple in Singapore. Sculptures of Hindu deities and ornaments adorn six tiers of the temple, displaying rich colours and storytelling.
Top Tip: Make sure you are respectful, dress modestly and remove shoes and socks if entering the temple. Visitors are required to make a donation in order to take photos of the temple.
Mumbai is India’s financial capital and among the world’s 10 centres of commerce regarding financial flow. Unsurprisingly, cotton textiles is still a top industry, as well as computers and film. Mumbai, or ‘Bollywood’ produces more movies than any city in the world outside of Hollywood. Other industries that contribute to Mumbai’s strong economic base are petrochemicals, metals, electronic and automobile manufacturing.
There is a great divide in the ‘rich’ cosmopolitan city of Mumbai. As many as 55% of the population live in slums. On the other hand the city houses 46,000 millionaires! Vast slum areas in the city have had a colourful transformation. The work was undertaken to increase positivity, bringing in light and eliminating the dark reputation of the shanties. Additionally, the work is providing motivation and energy to the children residing there.
Top Tip: The Asalpha village was one of the first slums to be transformed. Therefore it is also the most visited. It has it’s own metro station and you will be greeted with a vibrant sight and cheerful residents who will willingly share the stories behind the art.
Toronto is the banking and stock exchange centre of Canada, with a large financial district. The city also has a large movie presence with an international film festival and major film studios. Technology makes up the last major industry in the city. It is ranked as the 8th best startup scene in the world. Furthermore it is the 3rd largest centre in North America for information and communications technology, falling just behind Silicon Valley and New York.
If you need a quick respite from a busy day, try a short stroll down ‘Graffiti Alley’ in Toronto’s fashion district. The area is Toronto’s most unexpected attraction, as graffiti is often considered more vandalism than art. The stretch of vibrant graffiti features murals from some well respected artists, including Uber5000.
Top Tip: There are some guided tours available for Graffiti Alley. These guides will be able to explain the history of graffiti and the controversy behind the art form. Additionally, information on the tools and styles used, as well as each artist will be provided. Some of these tours are also free (but tip the guide!).
Seattle topped the Forbes list of best destinations for business and careers for the first time in 2018. In part due to it’s growing industries in clean energy, aerospace and defense and sciences, but also due to it’s booming economy, education levels and millennial population. It is home to tech genius’s Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, the two richest people on the planet.
Also known as ‘the Emerald City’, Seattle is full of lush evergreen forests, gardens and clean air. Before catching a flight back out of the city, why not explore the beautiful Chihuly Gardens and Glass exhibition? Dale Chihuly is a world renowned glass blowing artist. His sculptures are delicate and magical and the colours are dazzling and kaleidoscopic.
Top Tip: On a sunny day the garden with Chihuly’s art intertwined with nature will be breathtaking. The museum is open daily and the glass blowing demonstration is a must.
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