With advancements in technology in the fields of both business and travel over the past decade, the world has become a much smaller place. Enterprises can now tap into the commercial opportunities of most every corner of the globe with relative ease, and while the Internet allows companies in different locations to communicate as if they were in the same office, face to face meetings along with business class flights to local and global destinations will always be necessary.

The following guide by business travel experts SkyClub will give you a helpful countdown of the Top 25 cities in the world when it comes to commerce, life and innovation. Part 1 will look at destinations rated 25th to 20th – from Johannesburg to Mexico City.

25 – Johannesburg, South Africa

The city of Johannesburg (also called Gauteng) is rated first in the world in terms of affordability of business space and ranks second for sustainability or cost of living i.e. the South African Rand currency is weak when compared to the US dollar and GBP.

The downside however is that the city wrestles with high crime levels and poor public health. While the business traveller who stays in commercial hubs such as the exclusive area of Sandton will generally experience world class facilities, the country also ranks last in broadband quality, foreign embassies and life satisfaction if you live there for an extended period of time.

24 – Sao Paolo, Brazil

The world's seventh largest city, Sao Paolo (popularly known as Sampa) is also the largest city in Brazil and has an economy that is bigger than the entire GDP of Egypt. It ranks second for its carbon footprint (emissions compared to city population) and comfortable general temperature.

Unfortunately the city is also plagued with bad crime rates (it is rated worst out of all 25 cities in this guide), and the Government is still struggling to build housing and transportation for its 20 million people. The city further comes last when it comes to ease of hiring, ease of starting a business, entrepreneurial environment (measured by both aspirations and start-up activity) and total tax rate.

23 – Istanbul, Turkey

The Brookings Institution named Istanbul the most dynamic city in the world last year, based on population and economic growth. Istanbul has in fact had the highest employment growth of any major city in the world in the last two years. In addition, the city of Istanbul is rated third lowest in terms of air pollution, and fourth best in terms of skyscraper construction activity (showing that commerce is alive and well!)

Despite its encouraging growth however, Istanbul’s reliance on exports makes it vulnerable to global downturns. It also rates second to last in categories such as research performance at top universities, inflation and quality of living.

22 – Santiago, Chile

The largest city in Chile and its capital, Santiago is Latin America's most modern metropolitan area and it is also the eighth most cost friendly city in the world. Santiago is further rated third best for flexible visa travel, plus fourth best in the categories of commute time, cost of living and total tax rate.

Santiago’s disadvantages lie in being voted last in terms of having green space, hospitals per capita and cargo flights in and out of its airport (Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport).

21 – Moscow, Russia

Russia has wealth and an abundance of natural resources. Its capital Moscow ranks first for lowest risk of natural disaster occurring in a city, second for green space as the share of a total area and fourth for population with a higher education.

Unfortunately however, Moscow’s freezing temperatures most of the time plus its notoriously confusing and risky business environment makes it a rather undesirable location for international professionals to set up a company.

Moscow was voted last for safety from business risks such as political instability, regulatory uncertainty and financial risks, as well as last for comfort of city temperature, working age population, political environment and intellectual property protection.

20 – Mexico City

The city of Mexico is as large as New York City - it is rated first for cost of living, public transport and licensed taxis, plus it ranks second for skyscraper construction activity.

Nevertheless, Mexico City was voted second to last in terms of purchasing power and R & D spending. In addition, it ranks lowest on the list for air pollution and has the dubious fame of being one of the dirtiest developed metros in the world. To rectify this however, Mayor Marcelo Ebrand has launched a 15-year Green Plan complete with a new rapid bus transit system, which was recently honoured with an environmental award by the Harvard Kennedy School.


Business class flights are far more comfortable than flying economy and they offer many perks to make things easier for professionals who need to travel regularly, but extended time spent in transit can take its toll. The above guide offers some key advice on some of the top rated destinations for commercial activity, to help you decide whether setting up shop abroad is the right way forward for your company.

About the Author: Melissa Fletcher is an independent travel writer on business class flights.