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Departures


Pictured: Below left: Cuban capital city, Havana; Below right: Spanish colonial heritage in Mexico; Bottom: a Cuban icon, the 1950s American car





Costa Rica  San José Located in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, San José has traditionally been all about coffee. Today, however, tourism earns more foreign exchange than exports of the country’s three main cash crops combined – coffee, bananas and pineapples. A changing picture is further influenced by government tax exemptions for those willing to invest in the country. These have persuaded several high-tech corporations to develop their operations in Costa Rica, among them GlaxoSmithKline and microprocessor manufacturer Intel.


There are no direct flights from the UK to


San José, which means travelling to Madrid and catching one of Iberia’s daily services or flying via a North American hub.


Cuba  Havana Cuba’s capital is a multi-faceted seat of one of the last remaining communist governments. At the same time, it is picturesque, swaying to the strains of the samba, its streets thronged with lovingly maintained American cars from the 1950s. This oddly attractive mix has triggered a tourism revolution, transforming the once


isolated country with an increasing number of international flights, new hotels and the restoration of crumbling buildings. Never- theless, the economy is still reliant on the sugar industry, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, and tobacco products such as the prized Habanos cigars. From London Gatwick, Virgin Atlantic serves Havana twice a week, and Air Europa five times weekly via Madrid. Air France flies daily from Paris Charles de Gaulle.


Mexico  Mexico City The capital of Mexico is nothing if not dynamic, its GDP set to double by 2020. Top earners in the city had a disposable income close to US$100,000 in 2007, and with stable economic growth, there is still high demand for luxury cars, designer fashions and expensive jewellery. Industrial production has moved out of town, to be replaced in Greater Mexico City by trade, financial services, insurance, telecoms, information technology and transportation. British Airways flies from Heathrow to Mexico City thrice-weekly. From Madrid, Aeromexico departs daily, with the same frequency out of Paris CDG, from where Air France offers a double-daily service. KLM operates from Schiphol seven times a week, and Lufthansa flies daily from Frankfurt.


➔ 74 I THE BUSINESS TRAVEL MAGAZINE


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