FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Vilnius: Well-Centered

Sep 1, 2004
2004 / September 2004


What is old is new again in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. This quickly changing city of nearly 600,000 residents is the capital of a country that’s new not only to the World Trade Organization and nato, but also to the European Union — joining as of May 1. After decades of Soviet occupation, officials hope these memberships will put this northern European country back in the minds of business travelers.

“We believe that our membership with the wto will give a lot of benefits to Lithuania,” said Alvitis Lukosevicius, director general of the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism. “We are ready to host international events and cooperate with wto in all fields of activities.”

Much of that planned activity will take place in Vilnius, notable not only as the country’s largest city and its capital, but also for its location just over 16 miles from the geographic center of Europe. When Lithuania took its place in the e.u., the geographic center site was marked with a column of white granite, a symbol of Lithuania’s hopes that this destination will become a focal point for business throughout the continent.

If that happens, it won’t be the first time Vilnius and the surrounding region has been at the center of Europe’s attention. Until quite recently, Lithuania had led a sort of “push-me-pull-you” existence. When the country was annexed by Russia in the 18th century, its citizens struggled to maintain their culture, language and religion — a fight that continued well into the 20th century. While Lithuania enjoyed brief development as an independent republic between the two world wars, wwii brought the return of occupation, this time by the Soviet Union. Still, its tenacious people rose to become one of the first republics to break free of Soviet rule following the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991. Two years later, the last remaining Soviet soldiers pulled out of Lithuania. Today, the Baltic state is an independent democratic republic whose seat of government is the inland city of Vilnius.

If your last visit to Vilnius was during the Soviet era, you’ll discover it’s a vastly different city now. Staid statues of Lenin and stark buildings have been replaced by a thriving nightlife. Symbols of Roman Catholicism are evident, and lively architecture reflects the modern-day optimism that pervades the city. Recently, Le Meridien Villon opened a new conference center, the largest in the Baltics, just one of many indicators that the city is open and ready for business.

The new growth in Vilnius is, however, a planned growth — one that takes advantage of the expertise of Canadian urban planning consultants hired in 1998. Under their guidance, the city has drawn up a master plan for development through the year 2015. The paramount goal of the plan is to market the city at the center of Europe as the leading site for business meetings and conferences. To that end, the plan calls for the construction of more than 80 new hotels by 2015 to handle anticipated demand.

While it plans for the future, Vilnius pays homage to its often turbulent past. Today the city is a unesco World Heritage Site, noted especially for its architecture, including medieval courtyards and so many churches that it’s sometimes called “The Northern Jerusalem.” One of the city’s biggest attractions is Sts. Peter and Paul Church, a baroque church constructed in the 17th century. Inside there are nearly 2,000 statues of historic, mythological and biblical figures. Another historic attraction is the University of Vilnius. Dating to 1579, it’s one of Europe’s oldest universities.

Bolstered by the highly trained professionals affiliated with the University of Vilnius and the city’s more than half a dozen other universities, Vilnius can pride itself on its population of experts in the fields of science, publishing and art — which is how it got one of its other nicknames, “The Northern Athens.”

Vilnius is noted for its expertise in it development, electronics and construction. The city is also the heart of the country’s banking industry, hosting the Bank of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Bank of Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Under Lithuanian law, foreign banks can do business in the country through branch offices or by acquiring stock in local banks. Permits issued by the Bank of Lithuania are necessary to acquire more than 10 percent of stock capital.

Getting to Vilnius is easier than ever thanks to a new passenger terminal at Vilnius International Airport (vno), an airport that processes about 320,000 passengers annually. The primary carrier is Lithuanian Airlines, with additional service provided by sas, Lufthansa, Finnair, British Airways and others. Excellent connections to rail centers across Europe are also available through Vilnius Central Station, which serves more than 7.5 million passengers annually.


FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.


Insta Feed
Aug 12, 2022

New COMO Journeys in Thailand, Indonesia, Bhutan, Australia

COMO Hotels and Resorts offers travelers new immersive luxury retreats for 2022. Perfect for couples, small groups or solo travelers, the new COMO Journeys are available to book in Australia, Bhutan, Indonesia and Thailand.

Celebrity is celebrating Spring with 25% off Cruise Fares!

There’s no better time to plan the vacation you’ve been missing. Step aboard with your better half, your friends or the whole family and reconnect, reunite and rejoice with 25 percent off cruise fares for all guests. We’ll also help everyone get there with 25 percent off airfare from 20 major gateways across the country or $100 savings per person on flights from all other gateways when you book your air travel using Flights by Celebrity.*

Aug 12, 2022

High Tea at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort Thailand

Anantara Chiang Mai, the deluxe resort on the banks of Thailand’s Mae Ping River, relaunched the city’s most famous high tea experience, served on the terrace of the 100-year-old British Consulate that today houses the resort’s Service 1921 Restaurant & Bar.

Aug 12, 2022

Hotel Bel-Air Hosts Wolfgang Puck’s End-of-Summer BBQ

The Hotel Bel-Air hosts a new end-of-summer BBQ with Master Chef Wolfgang Puck on the lawn of the hotel. The event is back after a three-year hiatus, set to take place Sept. 6. Guests will be able to enjoy an evening featuring backyard-style barbeque and seasonal summer favorites.

6,000 Reasons and More to Celebrate!

IHG® Hotels & Resorts certainly has a lot to celebrate, starting with an incredible growth story. Over the past five years, IHG has acquired or launched six new brands: Six Senses® Hotels Resorts Spas, Regent® Hotels & Resorts, Vignette™ Collection, voco™ hotels, avid® hotels and Atwell Suites™. Most recently, IHG reached an important milestone with its 6,000th open hotel. The company looks to further expand its portfolio by 30 percent with 1,800 hotels in the development pipeline, with significant focus on growth in the luxury segment where IHG is positioned as one of the top two hotel chains.

Aug 11, 2022

The Oberoi Marrakech’s New Wellness Program

The Oberoi, Marrakech introduces its new holistic wellness program, SAHA. Meaning health in Arabic, SAHA aims to help guests reach their full wellbeing potential. The program operates on four key cornerstones: soul & spirit, active body, holistic treatments and a better plate.

Aug 10, 2022

The Hard Days Night Hotel Liverpool

A never-before-heard broadcast interview with John Lennon recorded in 1964 has been won at auction by Hard Days Night Hotel, the only Beatles-inspired hotel in the world, located in Cavern Quarter in Liverpool.

Why the Future of Business Travel Might Look Different

Global business travel is making its way back, even as the pandemic and other world events continue to challenge its return. In a recent poll from the Global Business Travel Association, more than four in five respondents (86 percent) from across the industry said they feel more optimistic than they did at the beginning of the year. Business travel bookings, the need to travel to do business and employee willingness to travel are all on the rise.

eFlyer News
Aug 10, 2022

Emerald Cruises’ Newest Star-Ship, ‘Emerald Luna,’ Christened in Amsterdam

Emerald Cruises christened its newest Star-Ship, Emerald Luna, in a ceremony in Amsterdam as it prepares to sail the Rhine, Main and Danube rivers of Europe. Equipped to host up to 180 guests, Emerald Luna saw many members of Scenic Group, the parent company of Emerald Cruises, attend the ceremony, including U.S. travel industry advocate and educator Vanessa McGovern, who took honors as godmother during the ceremony.