Survival Tips for the 5 Most Expensive Cities for South African Business Travelers

Taking the average cost for four-star hotel accommodation, meals, drinks, laundry, transport, other essentials as well as general demand, Corporate Traveller has named the five most expensive cities for South African business travelers.

Says Oz Desai, Corporate Traveller South Africa GM: “When we travel for business, our choice of destination has little to do with how expensive it is to visit that city. Rather, we travel to cities where we have business interests even if it costs a great deal to fly there, stay in a hotel and buy a meal.

“The bulk of the daily spend will usually be the cost of a hotel room, but other business expenses like taxis, food and drink and even the cost of Wi-Fi quickly add up when you’re travelling for business.”

Here’s a list of handy rand-savers in five popular South African business haunts.

1. New York

Number one at R10,375 a day.

Accommodation prices in New York are subject to extreme fluctuations depending on the season and whether there’s a large-scale event in town. Plan your business travel so that it takes place at off-peak times. Rule of thumb is that from mid-January to mid-March is a good time to visit New York for business even though it’s winter. Also look for hotels uptown or downtown instead of staying midtown. Public transport is excellent in New York so provided you’ve clustered your meetings smartly you will have no issue getting down to business speedily.

2. Hong Kong

Number one in Asia at R6,065 a day.

Hong Kong is the most expensive location for business travelers, overtaking Tokyo which drops to second in the rankings. If you want to eat cheap in Hong Kong, consider taking a foodie tour after hours where you’ll be introduced to some of the lively local hot spots and indulge in dim sum, noodle soups and barbecued meat. If you don’t have time to go on a foodie tour, take a trip to Hong Kong Island and find Dim Sum Square, or be adventurous and visit one of the night markets which always serves up an array of delectable street food.

3 and 4. Switzerland – Zurich and Geneva

Number one and two in Europe at R9,408 and R8,728 respectively.

An easy way to save money in Geneva is to grab a free transport pass when you arrive at the airport. The pass is good for 80 minutes and covers trains, buses and trams for Zone 10, which is pretty much anywhere in Geneva you’d want to go. Throughout Geneva, there’s free Wi-Fi. Simply look out for a network called “((o)) Ville de Geneve.” Unfortunately, affordable eateries are difficult to find in Geneva but don’t despair. Just hop on the 12 tram to the end of the line and walk across the border to the French town of Gaillard for some great restaurants.

For Zurich, it’s a good idea to purchase a city card, which will offer free public transportation as well as discounts or free admission to local attractions. If you like to eat out, it might be worth considering the Easy Dining app. It costs 95 francs (R1,210) per year but the app claims to cut your bill by half with its discounts at restaurants across the canton.

5. Luanda

Number one in Africa.

As Angola’s largest city, Luanda takes the No. 4 spot on the global list – in part because of security factors. Travelling executives end up staying in pricey tourist areas, rather than more competitively-priced business areas.

Although it’s tempting to explore the upper-end restaurants on Ilha do Cabo, if budget is a concern, rather head to Luanda’s central neighborhoods with their backyard restaurants (quintais) where you’ll be able to eat fantastic local specialties at a fraction of the price.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Bizcommunity [1]. Image sources: Jametlene Reskp on Unsplash [1].

Temporary Visas Available to South Africans in 2018: Categories and Prices

Over the years, countries around the world have changed their visa policies and rates, in accordance with many factors, such as global and local economies, political preferences, migrant crises, and tourism sector performance.

Below you can find the costs for applying for a visa in 2018 in a number of countries that are popular among temporary workers, travelers, students, and business visitors.

The below prices do not include delivery fees and other fees as part of each country’s application process.

United Kingdom (info)

The United Kingdom offers visas in a number of different categories, including Standard Visitor visas (granting entry for between 6 months and 10 years), a number of Business Visas, and a variety of Special Visitor Visas.

United States (info)

A popular class for US visas is Class B, which may grant an applicant entry into the country for up to 10 years. A variety of other temporary visas are available, each with their own periods of validity. Other classes for the US include Transit, Study, and Work.

New Zealand (info)

Outside of its temporary visa class, which may grant an individual entry for up to 9 months, New Zealand has a Limited Visa class. With a Limited Visa, you can visit New Zealand temporarily, to achieve an express purpose. Once you’ve achieved your purpose, you must leave New Zealand. You can’t usually apply for other visas while in New Zealand on a Limited Visa, although you may be granted another Limited Visa in keeping with a need to spend more time in the country for the express purpose that the initial visa was granted for.

Australia (info)

Australia offers temporary visas across a number of categories. These include Tourist and Business Visitors, Working Holidays, Medical Treatment, Transit, Student, Training, and Temporary Work Sponsorship. Online applications are available through the government’s ImmiAccount system.

Approved Destination Status (ADS) is an arrangement between the Chinese Government and another country, that lets Chinese holiday travellers visit a country in a tour group.

The eVisitor program allows those with a passport in certain countries to obtain a Visit Visa for free. The list of eligible countries can be found here.

An Australian Study Visa is for those who wish to study full-time in a recognised education institution. A Training Visa is for those who wish to take part in workplace-based training to enhance their skills in their current occupation, area of tertiary study, field of expertise; or participate in a professional development training program.

A Temporary Activities Visa allows entry for specific activities, each with their own assigned duration. A list of such activities can be found here.

A Bridging Visa can be granted for someone who has applied for an associated substantive visa through ImmiAccount, for which a decision has not yet been made.

United Arab Emirates (info)

The visit visa or entry permit into the UAE requires sponsorship from a citizen, resident or investor. Nationals and residents in the UAE can apply online and acquire 90-day /30-day UAE entry permits or visit visas for their families, friends and relatives through the Ministry’s website- eServices section and the UAE-MOI app on smartphones.

If you have relatives or friends residing in the UAE, they can sponsor your non-electronic UAE visa. They can apply for your entry permit at the office of and the relevant General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) under Ministry of Interior. Its office is located in each emirate. Links to the local GDRFA offices can be found here.

Tourist visa is a special category of visa under visit visa, which could be obtained for eligible individual tourists around the world. The visa permits the holder to stay for duration of 30 days. The visa requires sponsorship of UAE airlines, hotels and tour operators who bring in visitors. The renewal and visa processing fee of tourist visas depends on travel agency that covers for you. Information about Emirates visa services can be found here, and information about Etihad visa services can be found here.

The Service Visa applies to the following categories and their families accompanying them: company manager’s representatives, sales managers, account auditors, company or establishment delegations required to carry out a commercial activity in the UAE, consultants requested by companies operating in the UAE that are required to carry out an urgent task.

Finally, the UAE’s airlines handle 4-day transit visas, valid for 14 days from the date of issue.

Shengen (info)

A Shengen visa covers members of the European Union (except the United Kingdom) and a number of other countries. Member states are: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Liechtenstein. Countries including Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, and Ireland are soon to be part of the agreement.

Some tips when applying for visas include:

  • Checking whether there are multiple ways to apply, with different fees, such as is the case in the UAE.
  • Making sure you have all the required documents ready (check the number of copies needed).
  • Taking along multiple forms of ID, just in case.
  • Ensuring that the website you are using to apply through is legitimate. Scam sites are an unfortunate reality.
  • Scheduling any appointments on a day when you have some extra time, in case things take longer than expected.
  • Noting the duration that the visa you are applying for allows you to stay in the country you are visiting, and how long it is valid for.

Happy travelling!

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Image sources: Igor Ovsyannykov (via Unsplash) [1].

The 20 Busiest Airports in The World

New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport is no longer ranked among the 20 busiest in the world, thanks to the rush in Asia.

Among those pushing out JFK was New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport, which made its debut on the table last year at No. 16, according to Airports Council International rankings released Monday.

The Indian airfield was also the fastest-growing on the list, with passenger traffic rising 14 percent, followed by 10 percent at China’s Guangzhou, which climbed two notches to No. 13.

The center of gravity for world aviation is continuing its eastward shift, with China and India poised to feature among the world’s top three air-travel markets by 2020 as rising incomes make fares more affordable, Montreal-based ACI said.

The Asia Pacific region is likely to have 3.5 billion passengers by 2036, adding more than double the forecast for North America and Europe combined, according to estimates by the International Air Transport Association.

To cater to that explosion in demand, about half of the $1 trillion budgeted for airport expansions and upgrades around the world are expected to be spent in Asia, Sydney-based CAPA Centre for Aviation estimates.

Efforts by Chinese airlines to add more direct flights to the U.S. and Europe stoked passenger traffic at second- and third-tier airports last year, ACI said. Travel demand in China is expected to add 3 billion more passengers by 2040, representing 21 percent of the projected global passenger traffic growth, it said.

JFK, as in some other big cities, has other airports nearby. The combined traffic at the New York metropolitan area’s three large airports is typically twice that of JFK’s alone.

Other ACI highlights:

  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport, still the world’s busiest airport – holding the title for the past 20 years, was the only one among the top 20 to report a decline in passenger traffic.
  • In China, Tianjin Binhai International Airport reported 25% more passengers last year; Nanjing 15.5%, and Xian 13%
  • In India, passenger traffic in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) jumped 27%, while Hyderabad saw a 20% gain and Bangalore, 13%
  • Dubai was the world’s busiest for international passengers, followed by London’s Heathrow and Hong Kong For air cargo, Hong Kong took the top place, with Memphis and Shanghai coming in second and third.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: Bloomberg (via BusinessTech) [1], [2]. Image sources: [1].

Countries at Highest Risk of Job Automation

Automation may render millions of jobs obsolete but some countries may be in a better position to face the robots than others.

That’s based on research from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, a symposium of largely wealthier nations, using 2012 data from 32 of its members to gauge the risk of job automation on different countries.

“The variance in automatability across countries is large,” the researchers Ljubica Nedelkoska and Glenda Quintini wrote. “More generally, jobs in Anglo-Saxon, Nordic countries and the Netherlands are less automatable than jobs in Eastern European countries, South European countries, Germany, Chile and Japan.”

At one end of the spectrum, the researchers found that 33% of all jobs in Slovakia are considered highly automatable or having a 70% or more chance of being automated. That’s followed by 25% of the jobs in Slovenia, and 23% of the jobs in Greece.

Norway, on the the other hand, is the best positioned. About 6% of jobs in the Scandinavian nation are rated as highly automatable, followed by 7% in Finland, and 8% in Sweden. That’s compared to 14% of jobs across the 32 nations researched.

So, where does the United States stand?

About 10% of jobs in the US are at high risk, the researchers found. When adding in jobs that are also at risk of changing significantly due to automation, the US will be considered among the least affected in OECD countries. Though, with nearly 40% of jobs in the country either with a high risk of automation or risk of significant change, the magnitude of the shift is daunting nonetheless.

Still, the research is perhaps more optimistic than some that have come before it. A highly-cited Oxford University study from 2013 found that 47% of jobs in the US are considered highly automatable.

Though some trends remain the same: the jobs considered most automatable are those that require low levels of education and are often low paying. That includes positions in the manufacturing industry or agriculture industry. Those positions are also often those occupied by teenagers.

But the researchers also added a caveat.

“Caution is needed when interpreting the numbers related to the risk of automation: the actual risk of automation is subject to significant variation and, while country rankings at the top and the bottom of the scale are robust to methodological changes, there is more uncertainty for countries closer to the cross-country average,” they cautioned.

To view the full report, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Matt Pritchard [1], [2].

The World’s Cheapest and Most Expensive Cities: EIU

The the latest Worldwide Cost of Living report from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has been released.

For a fifth consecutive year, Singapore has been named as the most expensive city in the world.

While last year the top 10 was dominated by cities in Asia, now five of the priciest places in the report are found in Europe, with Paris and Zurich joint-second. Oslo, Geneva and Copenhagen are fifth, joint-sixth and eighth, respectively.

Hong Kong is ranked as the fourth most expensive city, while Seoul (joint-sixth), Tel Aviv (ninth) and Sydney (10th) are also included in the list.

The top 10 most expensive cities, according to the report, are:

1. Singapore

2. (tie) Paris, France

2. (tie) Zurich, Switzerland

4. Hong Kong, China

5. Oslo, Norway

6. (tie) Geneva, Switzerland

6. (tie) Seoul, South Korea

8. Hamburg, Germany

9. Tel Aviv, Israel

10. Sydney, Australia

The survey, which is designed to help create compensation packages for expatriates and those travelling for business, measures the cost of living in 133 major cities, including comparing more than 400 individual prices across 160 products and services.

It finds that Singapore is the most expensive place to buy and run a car, while the average price for one bottle of wine ($23.68) is considerably more than in most other cities, including the majority of those within the top 10. Only Seoul ($26.54) and Tel Aviv ($28.77) were found to be more expensive.

The priciest cities for groceries

Despite topping the rankings, Singapore does offer relative value in some categories, especially compared with its regional peers, the report says.

For categories such as personal care, household goods and domestic help, Singapore remains significantly cheaper than Seoul, Hong Kong and Tokyo, which are the most expensive places in the world to buy staple goods.

In Seoul, for example, filling up a grocery basket is almost 50% more expensive than in New York, which ranks 13th in the overall list, the highest of any city in the United States.

Los Angeles, which ranked 14th overall, is the next most expensive US city, down from 11th last year. Indeed, US cities have become comparatively cheaper thanks largely to the dollar weakening against other currencies, the report says, with all but one (Boston) of the 16 surveyed falling down the rankings.

The report also warns of a number of fallouts that could take place this year as political and economic shocks start to take effect.

It points out that the United Kingdom has already seen sharp declines in the relative cost of living as a result of the Brexit referendum and related currency weaknesses. The prospect of the UK leaving the European Union in March 2019 means the country is now cheaper – with London ranking 30th overall.

A house in Damascus, Syria.

Cheaper cities tend to be less liveable

At the bottom of the rankings, Damascus is the cheapest city in the world, dropping 14 places in comparison to last year. Caracas is the next cheapest city, with its ranking falling 13 places since the survey was last conducted, highlighting the impact of political or economic disruption, the report says.

For many Syrian and Venezuelan nationals, however, neither Damascus nor Caracas would be considered cheap, as rocketing prices in recent years have made groceries more difficult for people to afford.

There’s one European capital among the world’s 10 cheapest cities.

The 10 cheapest cities, according to the report, are:

133. Damascus, Syria

132. Caracas, Venezuela

131. Almaty, Kazakhstan

130. Lagos, Nigeria

129. Bangalore, India

128. Karachi, Pakistan

127. Algiers, Algeria

126. Channai, India

125. Bucharest, Romania

124. New Delhi, India

The report adds: “There is a considerable element of risk in some of the world’s cheapest cities… and there is some correlation between the EIU survey and its sister ranking, the liveability survey. Put simply, cheaper cities also tend to be less liveable.”

To view the full report, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, and Remuneration needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: EWN [1]. Image sources: Pierpaolo Lanfrancotti [1], Neil Carey [2].