This month, The New York Times published a list of its top 41 places to visit in 2011. Why 41? We’re not quite sure. But the list, which focuses on the international cities that are thriving and fascinating places to visit this year, has some intriguing inclusions.
Tourism and business are always intricately linked, particularly in cities with a well-developed tourism industry: in Edinburgh, for example, tourism contributes a significant amount to the local economy; it improves the standard of living through investment in facilities, cultural attractions and accommodation; and in turn, it makes the city a more attractive business destination. Tourism is an important part of a country’s economy even in times of austerity: in October 2010, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, gave a speech arguing that tourism is “fundamental to the rebuilding and balancing of [the country’s] economy.”
The cities and areas listed in the New York Times list vary from well-known travel hotspots to more obscure locations. London made the list, thanks to the developments taking place in the build up to the 2012 Olympics; so did Manchester, which is making the most of its cultural heritage through increased investment in property and cultural attractions such as theatres, concert venues and cinemas. Manchester is one of SilverDoor’s most in-demand locations and the city has a well-developed serviced apartment industry to accommodate the business visitors who flock to the city every year.
There are a number of European cities on the list, including Milan, Antwerp and Dresden. Budapest is listed twice, once as a destination in its own right and once as a stop-off point along the majestic River Danube. A creative city lined with magnificent architecture, Hungary’s capital has consistently ranked high in recent quality of living surveys and is now becoming a central European business hub. A new international terminal at Budapest Ferihegy International Airport will make the city a more accessible destination for business visitors and tourists alike.
Outside of Europe, there are several predictable inclusions and some wild cards in the list. Melbourne is gaining importance as a business destination and, with a thriving arts scene and a number of major restaurant openings this year, the city looks likely to steal the limelight from Sydney throughout 2011. Singapore, also listed, is similarly gaining more of a presence on the world stage. We shall be expanding our property profiles in both Melbourne and Singapore throughout 2011.
Another rapidly developing city, thousands of miles away, is Hyderabad, an Indian mega-city on the New York Times list for its intoxicating mix of old and new. Numerous international corporations outsource to Hyderabad and the city is a major centre for India’s IT industry. Now, business parks and shopping centres sit alongside the centuries-old sultans’ palaces which have traditionally drawn visitors to the area.
Intrepid explorers will flock to the less-visited international locations on the list, which include Tlemcen in Algeria; Oualidia, a seaside Moroccan village; and Iraqi Kurdistan. These areas might not be burgeoning business destinations just yet. However, the inclusion of other lesser-known locations, such as Tallinn in Estonia, Hangzhou in China and Cali in Columbia, points to areas where infrastructures and facilities are improving, and which are attracting growing international interest. Perhaps these are the locations to watch throughout 2011 and beyond.