Travel Tips

China & You: City With a Billion People To Go!

By Bob Coolidge

Why is China such a great place for a business trip? It’s three times the size of the U.S. — roughly 3,000 times larger. China is a giant nation with a population of 2.4 billion. So, why would anyone even bother to consider a business trip to China?

Well, because it’s home to eight of the world’s top 25 commercial centers (commercial terms that measure the total value of output by a country), according to the World Economic Forum. So, even though China still has approximately 40 percent less square footage than the U.S., the commercial factor makes it one of the top countries on the planet when it comes to how great a place it is to be a business person.

China is also regarded as a wonderful place to eat, stay and shop because we can just walk into any Chinese restaurant and feel instantly at home. Restaurants are everywhere, from the world’s busiest McDonald’s (with about 3,000 employees) in Beijing to one of the most exciting dining experiences in New York City (the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan, which has more than 30 elevators.)

And, most surprisingly, there are more than 45,000 banks and ATMs in China. Americans may have far fewer ATMs than our Chinese neighbors, but we also have far fewer branches than people think — around 10 percent.

China is one of the most dynamic nations in the world — in fact, China will have been in the 21st century 25 times over before the country is through.

There are several reasons I love China so much. You get a chance to drive on bullet trains. And you’re a kid again at a theme park, because there are theme parks all over the place. And, one of my favorite things to do is buy fancy flowers at a Shanghai flower shop. That’s kind of China’s version of going to the country store and paying cash, except the prices are higher. I’m impressed.

Chic Europe

Here in Europe, we’re in the midst of the Golden Season, as it’s called, and this weekend is no exception. Christmas is December 25th, Chinese New Year is February 9th and the big winter closing of some attractions takes place on Saturday, February 8th (Brussels, for example, shuts its doors January 31). And no region of Europe receives as much attention on the annual calendar as is Paris, where there’s always some kind of gift exchange or other type of promotion planned during the holidays.

Lamborghini is usually one of the most noted companies in town, but its showroom in Paris has been much more crowded this week than it normally is, as Lamborghini fans in Britain (it’s a twin-brand combination of automaker and car designer) and elsewhere buy Lamborghinis specifically for Christmas or Chinese New Year. If you’re in Paris this weekend, you’ll probably be able to drive or just buy one from the showroom, too.

French Edible Botanicals

If you’re flying around the world, you may not consider trying to visit as many places as you can while you’re there. But, you don’t even have to do that — you can just stop and smell how much joy is provided by the food you’re eating while you fly.

Part of my job is bringing some of the senses to market. So, I’m very proud of my team that does this. As a matter of fact, we put as much of my sensory approach to work as we can in places like Austin, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong and Paris. I’ve found that it’s sometimes easier for restaurants and hotels to create their own specialized and appealing food, wine, drink and bedding packages if they have any idea what I’m thinking about as I’m gathering my senses.

Don’t have enough time to go to all the places I mentioned? Well, visit there by downloading our free travel app, which will tell you all you need to know about flights, hotels, cruises, auto rentals and whatever else you need to consider to get the most out of a trip to any country in the world. You can even view movie reviews in a delicious way.

Remember, the best place to travel is where the heart’s at, so I’m betting you’ll be happy to find that wherever you’re traveling to.

We’re so close to finding the perfect seating arrangement at your next dinner party.

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