Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Useful sites for Tourism

Though I do talk about International Business a lot (since this is my profession - International Business Consultant :-) I cannot ignore the fact that it is summer now and many people are finally fulfilling their dream of a long vacation. So to help those planning a trip (nationally or internationally) here is a good resource: http://www.everything-about-tourism.com/

It is a centralised directory including information on 70 most popular countries on all 5 continents in various categories: airlines, accommodation, golf, festivals, limousines, discos - anything. When you perform a search the results will bring you Internet links to relevant sites. Very handy "one stop shop" for travellers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trade Promotion Directory

I just recently found an excellent resource for companies who are doing or planning to do business in Europe: UNECE 's (United Nations Trade Economic Commission for Europe) Trade Promotion Directory, http://www.unece.org/trade/ctied/tradedir/trddir_h.htm

As mentioned on the site "this Directory is intended to help enterprises and investors find the organizations and information they need for trading or investing in the UNECE region.

The information is organized by country. Under each of the 55 European countries (the list includes also USA and a couple of countries in the Near East, such as Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, etc.) are lists of organizations covering the following areas:
-Information for investment and enterprises
-Government organizations and other supporting organizations
-Trade facilitation
-Corporate governance (including regulatory agencies)
-Trade and enterprise financing
-Chambers of commerce, and business associations
-Sectoral business associations "

The informatin is regularly updates and the site mentions in which country directory there were recent changes.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

World Customs Organization

As fantastic as it was to talk about travelling there is always business to attend. Here is a great resource for everyone doing business internationally: Customs Administartion Websites world-wide http://www.wcoomd.org/ie/En/CustomsWebSites/customswebsites.html

Everyone trading across the borders knows that customs regulations and procedures are usually the most complicated in any country. On this site you can find links to Customs offices in most of the countries in the world that will make your task a little bit easier.

One tip: when you try to select "Europe" as a continent the page does not work properlly, so just select a country you are interested in from the "select a quick link" drop-down menu below.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Puerto Rico, Part III of III

As usual, here is the visiual story to go with the text (all photos we made ourselves while in Puerto Rico). From the rain forest to underground caves to old San Juan Puerto Rico didn't stop to amaze me. Do you see a wild geiko on a "Wild Life Watch" sign? :-)

Friday, June 01, 2007

Puerto Rico, Part II of III

In my previous comment about Puerto Rico I forgot to mention the business side of things (I was so mesmerised by the natural and architectural beauty of the island that I forgot about everything else).

It's another example of a small territory in a region (Caribbean) that managed to recreate itself and achieve great results (compare with similar stories I already posted about Dubai (Middle East) and Mauritius (Africa)) Puerto Rico was poor, devastated by hunger, unemployment and hurricanes in late 1930s. In the forties the government of PR realised that they could not any more rely on agriculture for the growth of the economy and in 1942 established Puerto Rican Industrial Development Corporation. They placed their bet on 3 main areas: rum, industry and tourism - and won.

To cut a long story short, though since 1940s Puerto Rico had some ups and downs, eventually great results were achieved. It was a smart move to finally realise that fight with poverty was more important than fight for independence from the U.S. and Puerto Ricans managed to capitalize on all the benefits the tie with the U.S. offered, especially the Section 936 of Internal Revenue code that for some time exempted manufactures from having to pay federal income tax on profits earned by their subsidiaries located in Puerto Rico. And though this clause was later abolished thanks to it more than 2000 factories operate now on the island. Pharmaceutical industry accounts for 1/4 of gross domestic product and I already mentioned the famous Bacardi factory in my previous post. Tourism industry is booming too: more than 700 cruise ships come to the port of San Juan every year.

Though Puerto Rican per capita income is less than anywhere in USA it tops most of the Caribbean islands and it is higher than anywhere in Latin America. Actually, Puerto Rico has one of the highest standards of living in the Caribbean.

Once again I cannot fail to mention how fascinated I am with such stories of success, the stories of how small countries can make big changes.