City guide: Houston

Houston is the fourth largest U.S. city, which boasts a bustling economy, a vibrant arts scene and a diverse and dynamic population. Locals speak more than 90 languages, and their homelands influence everything from cuisine to entertainment in this sprawling, surprising Texas metropolis. You can shop for haute couture, eat an unforgettable Vietnamese meal and get your boots dusty at a rodeo—all in the same day.

Market monitor: Senegal

Senegal is one of Africa’s most stable democracies, with a history of acting as a regional mediator and peacekeeper. It’s never had a military overthrow of the government, setting it apart from most countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, a group of eight French-speaking nations that use a common currency pegged to the euro. Senegal’s gross domestic product of $14 billion makes it the second-largest economy in the union after Ivory Coast.

Ask a concierge: Lima

At the Swissotel Lima, concierge Rodrigo Uribe Massa guides visitors to the best places to go, things to do and restaurants to try in the Peruvian capital. Here he offers expert tips for business travelers.

City guide: Munich

Munich is the capital and largest city in the German state of Bavaria. It’s famed for beer and sausages, as well as ornate baroque and rococo churches. But Munich’s traditions co-exist with modernity—sleek cars, designer boutiques and residents who’ve moved to Germany from more than 180 countries.

Market monitor: Ecuador

Oil is king in the Ecuadorean economy, making up more than half of the country’s export earnings. In 2011, growth hit 7.8% before slowing as oil prices dropped worldwide. The government expects to report 2013 growth of between 3.7% and 4%.

City guide: Santiago

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, is rich with natural beauty, history and local charm. Walk through its barrios, and you’ll find cutting-edge art galleries, fashionable boutiques, knock-out restaurants and thriving international businesses—all of which draw visitors to this Latin American metropolis.

Market monitor: Turkey

Turkey learned from its severe fiscal crisis in 2001. Since then, the country’s fiscal and free-market overhauls have ushered in nearly uninterrupted expansion while lowering debt. The reforms, combined with foreign investment, pushed gross domestic product growth to a peak of 9.2% in 2010. In 2011, growth was 8.2%, and in 2012, it registered a much more modest 3%.

Ask a concierge: Makati, Philippines

At the Fairmont Makati, visitors rely on concierge Rey Moraga to guide them to the best things to do, see and eat in this business-centric city – one of 17 municipalities that make up metro Manila. Here he offers expert tips for business travelers to Makati.

City guide: Los Angeles

Los Angeles is a dreamer’s paradise and a mecca for shoppers, starlets and surfers. But there’s much more to Los Angeles than Hollywood.

Market monitor: Ukraine

While Ukraine is intent on maintaining its independence from Russia, it is dependent on expensive gas imports from its eastern neighbor. The high cost of gas and oil, coupled with the sluggish global demand for steel, Ukraine’s top export, has left the economy weak. Growth in 2012 was only 0.2%, and the economy is predicted to grow no more than 1.5% this year.

Market monitor: Thailand

Thailand’s export and tourism-fueled economy remains steady, despite violent political protests in 2010 and severe flooding that crippled manufacturing in late 2011. Gross domestic product grew 5.5% in 2012.

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