The world, they say, is a small place and with customized touring options backed by world-renowned travel companies, travelling and sightseeing is the biggest experience that can transform your life in profound ways. Avid travellers look for worthwhile experiences that give them a chance to immerse themselves in the culture and live life like a local.
The world is dotted with endless sightseeing options, exotic locations, historic destinations, cultural hotspots and adventurous expeditions. Select international locations are known for their exuberant wildlife and natural habitat, unique only to the specific region.
This is an article attempting to give the most elaborate information possible on some of the world’s locations & cities not to be missed by any chance. We are covering the topmost cities across United States of America in here.
This is the first part of the article with a couple of more to follow in the coming days.
United States of America
The most populous city in New Mexico, Albuquerque, is a high desert metropolis located in the northern part of the Chihuahuan Desert across the Rio Grande. It has pleasant scenery with warm, dry climate including hot summers and infrequent snow during winters.
Albuquerque is dotted with several fantastic points of interest to lure travellers. Learn more about the city in guided tours like open-air trolley tours, RV tours and walking tours that cover Old Town, Museum Row, Downtown, Historic Route 66 and major historic centres including nature tours. For every outdoor enthusiast, there are picturesque golf courses and mountain biking across the rolling terrain of the Sandia Mountain foothills. Enjoy skiing in Sandia Peak Ski Area or go horseback riding across the amazing landscape. Visit the historic Roosevelt Park, a rolling, grassy park planted with over 2,000 trees. Albuquerque Biological Park is an environmental museum featuring an aquarium, botanic garden, the Rio Grande Zoo with over 250 species of exotic & native animals& a fishing lake.
Arts & Culture
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is the annual balloon festival held early October with live music and food. This 9-day event, with over 500 hot air balloons, is the largest balloon festival in the world. Visit the breath-taking Albuquerque Museum of Art & History featuring over 130, 000 works of art, historical objects &photo archives. Discover the history of ballooning in Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque International Museum and gain insights to culture of the world in Maxwell Museum of Anthropology. Experience a journey through time, covering the birth of the Universe in the interactive New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Catch some engrossing live theatre, dance, music and other performing arts at Albuquerque Little Theatre, The Cell Theatre, century-old Kimo Theatre and others.
Boston, one of America’s oldest cities, undergone major gentrification, is the capital & largest city of Massachusetts. Metropolitan Boston is dotted with 52 highly-reputed institutions, making it an international center of higher education.
America’s “Walking City” is a prominent tourist destination with fascinating sightseeing options and engrossing outdoor activities. Hop on to fully-narrated, 100-minute Old Town Trolley Tour showcasing the best of Boston with Boston Harbour Cruise. Familiarize with New England in the 63-mile Mohawk Trail spread across 50,000 acres of state forests and reservations. Boston Photowalks tour is a very poplar guided walking tour with historic commentary. Abundant scenic tours teach you more about this fascinating city. Bike tours & rides and adventure trips are great options to have an up-close look of vibrant life and iconic spots. The 1,100-acre Emerald Necklace is a chain of parks linked by parkways and waterways. Franklin Park is the largest park and is home to the Franklin Park Zoo.
Arts & Culture
Boston has cultural roots of New England and is known for its intellectual reputation. It is home to significant art organizations including the Boston Theater District. Boston Opera House and Colonial Theatre present Broadway shows and Orpheum Theatre is home of Boston Symphony Orchestra. Wilbur Theatre and many more host exceptional musical performances. Prominent music schools in Boston showcase the city’s lavish culture, like New England Conservatory of Music, Boston Conservatory & Berklee College of Music. Notable museums leave visitors spellbound with rare displays and information. Explore over 450, 000 works of art presented at Museum of Fine Arts. National Center of Afro-American Artists preserves the cultural arts heritage of black people by offering arts education programs. Discover exuberant European, Asian and American art collections at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Dallas is recognized as the fastest-growing American city and has the best international skyline. It’s a vital industrial & financial center with convergence of four major interstate highways and major railroad lines.
With 10 regions and 26 historic neighbourhoods, Dallas is a premier tourist destination in the U.S with endless fascinations waiting to be explored. Dallas is home to 47 community and neighbourhood recreation centres. The city has 21,000 acres of parkland with select parks featuring reading room, restaurant, performance pavilion, fountain plaza & games area. The perfect way to hit Dallas is on the hop-on hop-off trolley tour, fully-narrated with 16 stops across unique points of interest. Explore the unique blend of Dallas with full day sightseeing& photo sessions on Discover Dallas Tour. Discover the wild side of Dallas at 106-acre Dallas Zoo, home to over 2,000 animals including over 400 endangered species. Enter a world of rich legacy& culture of Dallas with Heritage Tour.
Dallas springs to a rip-roaring nightlife after twilight with live music and high-energy nightclubs and dazzling dance bars. Light up your spirits and sway to engrossing tunes at Candleroom; a one-of-a-kind progressive dance club armed with cutting-edge sound, video & lighting system. Seductive confines & dazzling surroundings is The Foundation Room featuring exotic décor with luscious cocktails to elevate your night. A magnificent view of city lights at outdoor patio is accompanied with ripping DJ music. The Bomb Factory is a 50,000-sq. foot music venue & private event space located in Deep Ellum. Longhorn Ballroom is the oldest music ballroom with space for over 5,000 guests.
Las Vegas in Nevada is the largest and a major resort city within the greater Mojave Desert with subtropical hot desert climate. “America’s Playground” is a global leader in the hospitality industry.
With its tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment, the “Sin City” is a premium hotspot for an adrenaline-fueled nightlife with distinctive nightclubs, pool clubs & sexy strip clubs. Chateau at Paris is a French-style nightclub with glamorous amenities & elegant settings including a rooftop garden. Foundation Room is designed with warm lighting & exquisite features with a vast dance floor. Dance almost anywhere with high-energy music at Voodoo Rooftop Nightclub. Relax & rejuvenate at pool clubs with spas, qua baths and cabanas with access to abundant frozen dinks & cocktails. Select pool clubs also have a topless club with full-body pampering and suntan lotion application. Strip clubs are intoxicating with sexy women performing dreamlike moves on poles. Hot erotica at the classic Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club includes varieties of topless entertainment including a swinging room & G-spot room. Exotic dancers in swanky atmosphere with gorgeous amenities; Crazy Horse III Gentlemen’s Club has plenty of VIP spaces and girls offering a fine blend of everything.
Restaurants & Bars
Dine/drink at dazzling themed restaurants and posh & swanky bars like no other in “The City of Lights.” The city has dedicated restaurants for delectable barbecue & burgers prepared from the most tempting ingredients and authentic American steakhouses with excellent wines. Mega hotels have brunch options & dedicated restaurants serving select international cuisine including outdoor restaurants with striking views.
“The City of Angels” is the second-most populous city in the United States and is a sprawling metropolis and a global city. Los Angeles sits on a large coastal basin surrounded by 10,000 feet high mountains on three sides.
Abundant tourist attractions & tour options dominate the neighbourhoods and districts of “Angeltown” including Hollywood; a major center of the world entertainment industry. Plunge into an immersive Hollywood movie experience with hands-on introduction to film-making in Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Paramount Studio Tour &Universal Studios Tour. Check out the sets and sound-stages used to create productions, behind-the-scenes look at original props and costumes used in films and experience heart-pounding rides & shows. Spanning 468 sq. miles with 75 miles of coastline, LA can be explored by several recreational activities. Bikes & Hikes LA Tour is a 32-mile expedition starting on Route 66 and passing through Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and historic landmarks. Set off for memorable hiking with views of the Hollywood sign at the 160-acre Runyon Canyon Park located at Santa Monica Mountains. A vast network of hiking & biking trails, double-decker bus tours & helicopter tours are other amazing ways to explore LA.
Nightlife in “Tinseltown” is overwhelming with endless entertainment & wide-ranging fine cocktail selections. Get into the groove at Mayan Theatre for unprecedented dance nights in high-tech ambience. Dance the night away to rocking DJ music on massive dance floors in the greatest nightclubs in Hollywood. Lavish features & luxurious interiors like full-service bars, plush lounge seating, LED screens, cutting edge special effects and more highlight sexy nightclubs like Station 1640, Lure Nightclub, Manor On Vine, Playhouse Nightclub, Project Club L.A & others.
New York City
Situated on one of the world’s largest natural harbours, New York City is the most populous city in the United States with the largest foreign-born population in the world. Known as “The Empire City,” NYC is described as the cultural, financial and media capital of the world.
Comprising of five neighbourhoods with innumerable distinctive attractions makes “The Big Apple” the most photographed city in the world. The Empire State Building located in Midtown Manhattan has an open-air observatory on the 86th floor and an enclosed one on the 102nd floor for stunning 360-degree view of the city. One World Observatory on One World Trade Center and Top of the Rock observation deck at 30 Rockefeller Plaza offer spectacular panoramic views. The Statue of Liberty is an icon of freedom, accessible only by boat. Visit the most iconic Brooklyn Bridge stretching across the East River featuring a pedestrian walkway. Unbound recreational activities & attractions are found within the world-famous 843-acre Central Park filled with trees, rolling grasslands, arches & sculptures. Recreational options include hiking, biking & jogging trails, several playgrounds & courts. It includes an open theatre, a carousel, a concert, conservatory water area with boating, ice skating rinks and a zoo. Times Square is called “Crossroads of the World” and is the most famous commercial intersection, tourist destination, entertainment center in the world famous for the Broadway Theater & innumerable shopping outlets.
Arts & Culture
One of the world’s most ethnically diverse cultural scenes leaves you in absolute astonishment with humongous arts and cultural organizations & art galleries. Art lovers’ paradise is the Metropolitan Museum of Art located on Museum Mile, home to over two million comprehensive works of geographically designated art collections. An overview of contemporary art including works of architecture, drawing & painting, photography & prints is presented at the Museum of Modern Art. Brooklyn Museum showcases huge permanent collection from several cultures. NYC ranks among the topmost destinations showcasing top-notch performances. Soar to the superlative acts performed in 41 Broadway theatres located in Midtown Manhattan’s theatre district with historic venues hosting bold new musicals and fascinating dramas. You’ll never see anything like the lavish 16.3-acre Lincoln Center in Manhattan for the Performing Arts featuring 30 technologically-advanced indoor & outdoor performance facilities.
“The City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection” &”The Birthplace of America” is Philadelphia; the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth-most populous city in America.
“The Athens of America” is has a myriad variety of unconventional & unexpected attractions, drawing millions of visitors annually. The iconic Liberty Bell is a symbol of freedom that’s located in Liberty Bell center in Independence National Historical Park. The park is also home to prominent sites related to American Revolution. 360-degree panoramic views of the city from the 57th floor observatory in One Liberty Observation Deck leave you in awe admiration. Cover popular attractions of Phillyby foot, trolley, carriage and bus in Philadelphia Trolley Works. The themed Urban Adventures of Philadelphia is the most authentic way to explore different landmarks with fully-knowledgeable guide. The historic Laurel Hill and West Laurel Hill are scenic cemeteries showcasing magnificent architecture. Vast parks & outdoor spaces include recreational landscapes, pop-up gardens and scenic running & biking trails. Spanning over 2,000 acres, Fairmount Park and Wissahickon Valley Park are the two largest parks noted for their historical importance and in-house properties. Fairmount Park has miles of trails for horseback riding, off-road cycling and deep-woods hiking. The fitness point for walkers, bicyclers & joggers is the 30-mile Schuylkill River Trail passing through Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Serious retail therapy in 2.6 million-sq. feet area with over 400 stores, restaurants & seven major department stores is the King of Prussia Mall. Experience some profound retail outing in upscale shopping destinations featuring high-end stores, boutiques and hundreds of eateries in Rittenhouse Row, Fabric Row & Suburban Square. America’s oldest & largest farmers’ markets are Reading Terminal Market &The Italian Market selling everything from local produce & meats to artisanal cheeses &desserts. Shop fresh food items grown on farms in The Food Trust’s Farmers Markets.
Famous for its year-round fog, San Francisco is known as “Fog City” and is the headquarters of major banking institutions and several global companies.
“The Golden City” captivates tourists with larger-than-life attractions and prominent landmarks. The Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic symbol of SF, offering astonishing views of the skyline. The 8,981-ft. long suspension bridge has a separate pedestrian and cycling path. The Golden Gate Park is yet another pride of SF spanning 1,017 acres with a music concourse area, Japanese Tea Garden, two museums and facilities for sports activities. A trip to Lombard Street in Russian Hill neighbourhood takes you amidst fragrant gardens and beautiful views of the bay. It’s the crookedest street in the world with eight hairpin turns. Pier 39 is an entertainment delight with a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay and virtual 3D rides. 300-ft. crystal-clear tunnels in the Aquarium of the Bay are filled with sharks, rays and other marine animals. Enjoy a memorable and picturesque experience of SF on Big Bus tours or on double-decker bus tours. Explore the sights at your own pace on bicycle or stroll away on Segway tours.
Arts & Culture
The culture of the “City by the Bay” is major & diverse. Visit the 170, 000-sq. feet San Francisco Museum of Modern Art where the collection of modern & contemporary art including sculpture, photography & design leave you Wonderstruck. Its 14,000-sq. feet rooftop garden features two open-air spaces and a glass pavilion. Stare in awe admiration at the ancient European art collection in The California Palace of the Legion of Honour and over 18,000 works of art and artifacts from major Asian countries in Asian Art Museum. Get close to nature and its wondrous organisms at California Academy of Sciences& Research Institute. Ranked among the largest natural history museums worldwide, it houses over 26 million specimens and covers 4000, 000-sq. feet. A visit to the 7.5-acre San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center hosts most memorable performances like San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet.
Using payments to streamline everyday transport
By Venceslas Cartier, Global Head of Transportation & Smart Mobility at Ingenico Enterprise Retail
Once upon a time the only way to get from A to B on public transport was with cash – and likely a pre-paid ticket bought from a physical office. Nowadays, thanks to technological developments, options range from contactless and mobile payments, to in-app tickets and more. As payment methods advance, consumers and merchants are naturally moving towards Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems, integrating various forms of transport services into a single mobility service, accessible on demand.
This move towards MaaS does not only streamline the consumer experience, it has other positive impacts too. Incentivising public transport use reduces environmental pollution, improves mental wellbeing by reducing travel-related stress, and aids productivity by freeing up time otherwise spent driving. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the current trends affecting the transport sector, as well as how payments can optimise transportation for both operators and consumers alike.
Optimising transport with payments
The payment process is integral to any service. A payment service provider (PSP) can provide a range of key benefits to operators by proving a gateway to the transportation open payment ecosystem, and ensuring they meet objectives in 3 key areas.
- Environmentally, by reducing the use of personal cars and alleviating pollution and congestion.
- Societally, making urban mobility more inclusive in terms of improving access to all areas and for all socioeconomic classes.
- Economically, by optimising investment in eco-structure and fostering financial transactions, therefore improving the wealth of the city.
Payments professionals’ expertise and technological solutions can make payments easy again for transport operators. They can provide a range of options so that the customer can choose which one is right for them, leveraging the capabilities of the mobility services’ infrastructure (contactless, mobile wallets, P2P, closed-loop, QR code, and blockchain).
Furthermore, they can help promote inclusion and sustainable urban development. For example, methods such as prepaid virtual cards, or mobility accounts linked to a prepaid account can reduce the risks of excluding the unbanked. The environmental impact per kilometre can also be reduced, along with the use of vehicles with lower emissions per person per kilometre.
Finally, PSPs can put merchants’ minds at ease, providing payment liability, allowing aggregation of all due amounts from all mobility service providers, and collecting payments in one single transaction from users while dispatching revenue between mobility service providers.
COVID-19’s disruption to the travel industry cannot be overlooked. In fact, research suggests that public transit ridership is down 70% across the globe since the onset of the virus, longer distance travel has seen reductions of up to 90%, and payment by cash has seen a 60% drop.
Being realistic, these behavioural shifts are unlikely to revert anytime soon, so it’s important for merchants to keep this in mind when thinking about payment methods. More than 70% of consumers and travellers say they are likely to avoid the use of cash over the next six months. As a result, more than 40 countries have already raised their contactless payment threshold, further helping consumers to avoid contact with frequently touched pin pads.
However, the pandemic has only accelerated the way things were heading already and highlighted the benefits. Within the context of the pandemic, transportation needs to reinvent itself and adapt its processes to suit the shift in commuter habits that we’ve already seen and will continue to see in the future.
Other trends to keep an eye on
Contactless has been steadily growing on the transport scene, as have mobile payments and in-app purchases. In fact, the recent move to mobile and online ticketing is the most promising method so far, having seen significant growth in the last few years and having been accelerated by COVID-19 as discussed above. Once consumers move to these easy, convenient, and seamless methods, it’s rare that they revert – so it’s a good idea for operators to think how they can cater to these preferences.
Speed and convenience are a must for busy travellers – but not at the expense of data security. Finding the right payments partner is therefore crucial so operators can safeguard their customers’ personal data, while also keeping on top of other security regulations/features such as P2P encryption, PCI certification, and tokenisation.
Next steps for operators
Public transport is essential for many peoples’ everyday lives – COVID-19 or no COVID-19. As such, mobility service providers can make a great difference to their service and operations by implementing the right solutions.
Grey skies ahead – Malta prepares for a gloomy 2021 if they can’t tackle financial crime
By Dhanum Nursigadoo, ComplyAdvantage
With the summer drawing to a close, many countries who rely significantly on warm weather tourism will be assessing the impact of Covid-19. Being a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean you would expect Malta to be taking a significant economical hit – just like we are seeing in other popular European holiday destinations – but this doesn’t take into account the strength of the Maltese economy.
Emerging from the eurozone crisis with one of the most dynamic economies strategically positioned between three continents, Malta has had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the EU and has recently seen its GDP growth expand year-on-year. But perhaps the most important aspect of the Maltese economy has been its attraction for foreign businesses with only a 5% tax on profits. It is no secret that Malta is a tax haven, probably one of the most effective tax havens in the world.
But you can’t pick and choose who takes shelter, and it’s no secret that money launderers have been taking advantage of the regulatory landscape in this archipelago.
The conditions of a tax haven suit criminal enterprises, who can take advantage of the opaque environment and blend their illegal activities with the same operations enjoyed by high net worth individuals and corporations who are looking to reduce their tax bill. And last year Malta’s keenness for secrecy and avoidance resulted in a damning report by Moneyval – the Council of Europe’s Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) body – which found that while the nation had made some efforts to curb money laundering there was still much to be desired in order to bring the tax haven up to standard. Overall, they were of the opinion that Malta viewed combating money laundering as a non-priority and this resulted in branding Malta with low to partial ratings for 30 out of the 40 Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations.
The findings of the report were stated to have the potential to “create within the wider public the perception that there may exist a culture of inactivity or impunity”. This follows on from a series of international high-profile stories regarding Malta and financial crime. Most shocking was the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia – who investigated corruption and money laundering in her native country – and was killed by a car-bomb three years ago leading to international outrage and condemnation.
Now Malta is in a race against time to turn their reputation around or they will suffer genuine consequences. The FATF have threatened to place Malta on a “greylist” of high-risk jurisdictions unless they have shown a genuine commitment to combatting financial crime and implemented the recommendations of the Moneyval report. If they fail, this would make Malta the first EU country to make the list and join others such as Panama, Syria and Zimbabwe.
The pandemic has actually given Malta more time to meet these obligations, and it has been widely reported that an initial summer deadline has now been moved to October due to the widespread disruption.
As we head into the autumn, there are signs that Malta has begun to take action. The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has created and established an empowered AML now headed up by Anthony Eddington, formerly of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and who has previous experience of tackling anti-financial crime at Deutsche Bank. This team has already begun working closely with international experts, specifically partners in the US through the US embassy in Malta and the United States Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). In May this collaboration led to 25 new cases focused on money laundering in particular, and with plans to increase standard inspections and on-site investigations into businesses in Malta, it appears there is a change to the country’s priorities.
Importantly, the report highlighted a problem for countries that choose to become tax havens. In some cases it was not that the Maltese authorities deliberately turned a blind-eye, but simply that they did not have the necessary knowledge to effectively tackle financial crime in the first place. Law enforcement appeared unable to even recognise when crime was occurring.
But this blurring of financial compliance will not help businesses if Malta does indeed become “greylisted” this year. While not as devastating as being blacklisted (the two occupants of this list are Iran and North Korea) there are significant detrimental effects to being put on the FATF greylist. Although this signals that the country is committed to developing AML/CFT plans (unlike the blacklist) it still sends out a warning signal to the world that this is a high-risk area, with the country in question subject to increased monitoring and potential sanctions from the IMF and the World Bank. Make no mistake, being put on the greylist will be catastrophic for Malta’s economy.
It remains to be seen how the work to avoid such a calamity will affect Malta’s tax haven status. Perhaps with an increased fight against financial crime there will be less ability to defend one of Europe’s most competitive tax regimes. But if Malta does not show they are genuinely committed to tackling this problem, then the pandemic disruption to the island’s tourism may be minor in comparison to the grey clouds that now approach their shores.
How will the UK prepare a supply chain for the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines?
By Don Marshall, Marketing role at Exporta.
The challenge of mobilising a supply chain for the introduction of a global and nationwide vaccine will be enormously complex. The process will be costly, and it’s likely the figures will stretch to the hundreds of millions for both the production of the vaccine itself and its distribution across the UK. We must prepare and plan a supply chain strategy to ensure it reaches those most in need in a timely and safe manner.
The task of immunising a whole population is something that has never been planned or likely imagined by anyone within a standard supply chain. A supply chain that goes directly from the manufacturer to the end consumer, or user/ patient in this case, is complex and goes beyond the scope of any single logistics company. It would have to be conceived and delivered via a large joint effort and collaboration between multiple organisations. Effectively distributing the vaccine will depend on the source of manufacture, its storage requirements, and protection of the vaccines from manufacture through to patient administration.
The majority of vaccines require storage within a specific temperature range and need to be handled safely and in hygienic conditions. Depending on where the vaccines are manufactured, the transport legs will vary; if they are coming from overseas, air freight will increase cost and complexity. In addition to supplying the vaccine, syringes, needles and containers also need to be taken into account when preparing the supply chain.
Securing the specific types of boxes or containers i.e. the lidded containers normally used for transporting pharmaceutical products will mean acquiring them from all available stockists and manufacturers. Delivery vehicles would then need to be considered, with temperature-control factored in. The medical supply chain can inform their approach to distribution by assessing data from previous supply chains, and how large quantities of vaccines have been sent out in the past. Collating successful vaccine delivery examples from other parts of the world would be advantageous here, the more we can do to prepare for a logistical challenge of this magnitude, the better.
The distribution of this COVID vaccine will be unique in its scale and for that reason, additional supply chains will need to be mobilised. Apart from medical supply chains, those best suited for this type of transportation are the fresh/frozen food industries and supermarkets. I would mobilise these businesses to assist with the vaccine’s distribution wherever possible and use their car parks and facilities for the temporary medical centres needed to administer the vaccine to the public.
Using the food industry and supermarket networks would leave the current pharmaceutical supply chains intact for health services, pharmacies and the NHS. It would protect those vital services and continue to serve communities across the UK. Inevitably, it would place a short term strain on food supply chains, but these are supply chains that are well-equipped and versed in coping with excess demand i.e. the spike endured from the brief spell of public panic buying at the start of the crisis. With adequate resourcing and planning, I believe the UK supply chain can and will handle this challenge.
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