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Ireland takes next step in tackling aggressive tax planning through work with OECD – Minister Donohoe

Vlad Poptamas

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Photo source: Finance.gov.ie
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The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Wednesday) welcomed the deposit with the OECD of Ireland’s Instrument of Ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to prevent BEPS (Multilateral Instrument).

The OECD developed the Multilateral Instrument to apply many of the BEPS Recommendations to the approximately 3,000 bilateral tax treaties in place worldwide and prevent the need to renegotiate each one individually.

Commenting on the deposit of the Multilateral Instrument, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This is another example of the action Ireland is taking to tackle aggressive tax planning.  Ireland has always believed that aggressive tax planning is best addressed through co-operative multilateral agreements and I am delighted that we are depositing our Instrument of Ratification with the OECD today.  Once the Instrument is in force, it will significantly reduce opportunities for tax treaty abuse including bringing about the end of the so called “Single Malt” structure.  This completes the delivery of another important commitment set out in Ireland’s Corporation Tax Roadmap.’

The most important changes to Ireland’s treaties under the Multilateral Instrument will be the introduction of strong anti-avoidance rules that should prevent treaty benefits being claimed inappropriately.

The Multilateral Instrument also puts in place the final element necessary to end the so called “Single Malt” structure following the signature of a Competent Authority Agreement by the Maltese and Irish authorities last November.

Ireland remains committed to international tax reform and to continuing the implementation of new robust global standards that will ensure our corporation tax code is sustainable in the long run.

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Guest Articles

Explore Abraj Al Bait: Makkah’s Sensational Clock Tower- Complex

Alex Marginean

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Photo by Ali Arif Soydaş on Unsplash
Reading Time: 4 minutes

There is no person termed as a Muslim, who does not know the worth of Saudi Arabia. This Middle Eastern country is the proud possessor of the twin Islamic cities of Mecca and Medina. Millions of Muslims across the globe flock towards these sacred cities mainly to perform their religious rituals known as Umrah and Hajj.

However, besides these holy Islamic rituals, this country offers much more to visitors across the globe. It is a hub of remarkably luxurious and dazzling resorts and hotels. Saudi Arabia is a perfect combo of a spiritual enthralling and informative holiday destination. It is a readily welcoming touristy spot for purely Halal Family Holidays for all the Muslim families across the globe.

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Let’s talk about Saudi hotels. During your Umrah or Hajj have you ever witnessed the awe-inspiring 76-story hotel that rises like a beacon from the mountainous city? Have you eyed on the picturesque view of the charismatic clock emanating the green-colored light from your television screens if you have not been there before? It is the wondrously giant Clock Tower Hotel in Mecca.

The Internet is brimmed with plenty full of information regarding this remarkable building.  However, there are some facts associated with this more than spectacular piece of construction that surely would enhance your knowledge.

Abraj Al Bait

The actual name of this magnetic and magnanimous Clock Tower Hotel is Abraj al-Bait which means ‘Towers of the House’. It is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca and an inimitable part of the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project. It is the world’s second-tallest building that bears in its center the world’s largest clock which illuminates the grand holy square of the glorious Holy Kaaba during Saudi nights. During your Umrah/Haj you have to move around the ticking of this giant clock which displays the Saudi Standard time.

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History and Construction

It is visible from the distance of 30 Kilometers from Masjid Al Haram. Prior to turning into a bustling matrix of hotels and plazas for pilgrims, it was once a desert landscape. This mighty Clock Tower is built on the model of Burj Khalifa and London’s Big Ben. It contains an array of luxury apartments and outlets. This tower complex contains the conglomeration of seven towers. The tallest tower housing the Makkah Royal Clock Tower stands in the middle of the building structure. The other six towers are Hajar, ZamZam, Maqam, Qibla, and Marwa-that are situated to the sides of the Clock Tower.

 

A Remarkable Building Project
It is a revolutionary construction Project in which Saudi Govt. has burnt the mid-night oil in consultation with the best of the best sources.  This mega project was opened in 2001 and an inevitable part of the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Project. The most commendable constructional feature lies in the fact that it was built in the inimitable style of ‘Lower Towers in-Front’ so as not to block the panoramic view of the Grand Mosque and beloved Holy Kaaba.

 

An Outclass Construction Services

The Engineering services for this grand tower complex were provided by the renowned and reverent International Organization named Dar Al-Handasah Consultant. It is a privately owned Organization in engineering, architecture, planning, environment and project and construction management, founded in 1956. The upper portion of Clock Tower was constructed by the German architecture firm named SL Rasch. The Clock installation skyscraping and faceting the city was performed by Premier Composites Technologies (PCT) of Dubai, UAE. Gurit provided the composite materials used for the tower’s top façade. The huge clock fitted on the top was provided by the German tower clock manufacturer PERROT.

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An Opulent Hub of Scintillating Abraj al-Bait Hotels

This mighty Tower complex encapsulates residential towers for permanent Saudi residents, an enchanting opulent 5-star Hotel operated by Fairmount Hotels and Resorts for accommodating Hajj and Umrah pilgrims. Other 5 star hotels in this Tower Complex are the Raffles Makkah Palace Hotel, the Swissotel Makkah Palace Hotel, the Swissotel Al Maqam Makkah Hotel, and the Pullman ZamZam Makkah Hotel.

A Paradise for the Shopaholics
Abraj Al Bait tower complex flaunts one of the best shopping malls in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. These shopping malls are dotted over the five levels. It contains around 4000 shops and stores. You can get any item you want from usual, essential and souvenirs and buy clothes from luxury brands.

Other Facilities You will Love

Besides the aforementioned, this Grand Hotel complex boasts of other inspiring features, which are the following

  • Male and Female Prayer Rooms covering up to 10,000 worshippers.
  • Two viewing Platforms that make you travel the bustling Mecca city through your eyes
  • A Museum of Islamic Art
  • An Observation Center used for sighting the Moon
  • A Parking Garage with Space 1000 vehicles

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Abraj Al Bait- An International Tourist Attraction Destination

This Saudi Masterpiece has become a rich revenue generator for boasting up the Saudi economy. It not only friendly accommodates the Umrah and Hajj pilgrims but also gives way to Secular Tourism. The hotel management says that many visitors come here solely to feast their eyes with the picturesque view of the Grand Mosque

Need Help There?
If you are sojourning at one of the luxury hotels, ask the concierge or Hotel guide for directions or information regarding the opening and closing of this building.

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Amusement Parks and Tourist Attractions 

8 Best Family Vacations in the UK

Emma Gill

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Photo by Gabriela Palai from Pexels
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Filled with breathtaking coasts, rolling landscapes, fascinating historic landmarks, and adventurous activities, the United Kingdom (UK) is a sure fun place for families to visit. No doubt, with so many options available, finalizing your vacation destinations here is time-consuming and challenging.

Here are the 8 best family vacations in the UK

1) Blackpool

If you’re keen on a low-priced and cheery family weekend along the seashore, Blackpool is the place to be! To start with, there’s “Blackpool Pleasure Beach”, the United Kingdom’s most exemplary theme park, which is full of exciting roller coasters, magic shows, and fun-filled arcade games.

The Blackpool Tower offers a stunning seaside view and houses the opulent, glittering Ballroom and the spooky Blackpool Dungeons. If you’re a family of celebrity fans, head straight to the town’s Madame Tussaud’s Museum and find your favorite stars!

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At Blackpool’s fun-filled Penny Farm, you can get your toddlers to meet lovely horses at close range! Also, the farm’s coffee shop is a great place to indulge in delicious beverages and homemade cakes.

 

2) Dorset

Home to a 95-mile long, fossil-packed coastal stretch known as the Jurassic Coast, the county of Dorset is full of fascinating trails, breathtaking views and tourist hotspots like the Jurassic Coast’s Lulworth Cove. Another of Dorset’s highlights and a world-famous landform is the captivating Durdle Door, a naturally-formed hard limestone arch.

Brownsea Island, situated in the large, natural Poole Harbour makes for a great fun outing, what with its numerous trails and the chance to spot red squirrels while you walk.

Visit an intriguing aquarium in Bournemouth, Dorset’s largest town to get hands-on with aquatic flora and fauna. Also, don’t miss out on the Victorian Bournemouth Pier’s thrilling zip-line, letting you glide above the sea and descend on the sandy beach.

 

3) Cornwall

With heaps of tourist attractions and interesting activities, Cornwall is an all-rounder in family vacations. You can laze around sandy beaches, or explore the Eden Project, the world’s biggest indoor rainforest, or even spend your vacation exploring the county’s stunning coast.

Truro, the sole city in Cornwall has breathtaking rural landscapes encompassing it and rising cathedral spires dominating miles of its skyline. An ultimate foodie destination packed with quaint streets you’ll love to explore, Truro has numerous family-friendly attractions, including Loe Beach’s watersports and riding a steam train in the middle of the forested Lappa Valley.

 

4) The Lake District

Locally known as “Lakeland”, the Lake District is the most famous national park in the UK. This region’s postcard picture of rocky hilltops and glacial lakes is sure to stir your imagination, making you want to stay here for days together!

The Lake District offers a large variety of water sports and is full of hiking trails. Take an exciting lake cruise on Ullswater Lake, running an eight-mile serpentine course through extensive landscapes of Lake District’s highest mountains.

The scenic region is full of charming towns, friendly locals and comfy accommodations. Head to the small town of Bowness-on-Windermere where kids can delight in the amazing “World of Beatrix Potter” that brings Peter Rabbit to life through 3D scenes and offers plenty of kid-friendly activities.

 

5) Scottish Highlands

Providing tourists with wonderful countryside photography opportunities and a generous share of Scottish charisma, the Scottish Highlands are all about impressive mountains, floating mist-covered lakes or “lochs”, tumultuous history, and ancient forests.

Loch Lomond, one of Scotland’s most iconic places, makes an ideal family vacation getaway. With charming villages and rolling hills surrounding the 190-metre deep lake, you’re sure to find countless accommodation options around the place. Book your stay at a cosy country lodge, or camp right at the lakeside. Indulge in the several waterside activities found here and savour a traditional Scottish meal at the 300-year-old Drovers Inn.

You’ll love to drive through the Highlands, especially into Glen Etive, a narrow, scenic valley well-known for wild camping. You can also enjoy kayaking around the icy cold Loch Etive. While travelling to Glen Etive, make sure to rent a car with sturdy roof racks to carry your camping and kayaking gear.

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6) London

A world-class city full of family-friendly attractions, London can keep families busy for years together! Home to lovely parks such as Hyde Park, free museums, and classical monuments, the capital city of the UK offers public transport like tube trains and buses to get around here easily. Kids will surely love to ride in a London double-decker, enjoying the sights of the vibrant city.

Among London’s several tourist attractions are the British Museum, Buckingham Palace, and strolling by the Thames River. The British Museum holds artefacts representing nearly every culture across the globe.

Don’t miss out on the “Changing of the Guard” ceremony at Buckingham Palace, occurring in line with specific timetables. The city’s Hamleys Toy Store is a must-visit if you’re travelling with children, especially at Christmas time.

 

7) Yorkshire

A perfect countryside retreat, the coastal town of Yorkshire is full of breathtaking landscapes, museums, farms, friendly locals, cosy hotels, and pubs offering authentic British food.

In fine weather, head straight to the 5 mile-wide, golden Filey Beach. You can take sailing lessons and explore rock pools here. You can also enjoy pony rides along with kids on the sandy beach.

Yorkshire’s countless family-friendly attractions include the medieval York Minster Cathedral, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park housing a variety of animals like lemurs, lions, and polar bears, the 900-year-old Skipton Castle, and the National Railway Museum housing some of history’s largest locomotives.

 

8) Devon

A beach-fringed landscape dotted with ancient houses, lively cities, and untouched moorlands, Devon easily lets you enjoy a full-fledged family holiday. Kids can enjoy themselves in the swim-friendly waters by the shore, and at theme parks like Woodlands Leisure Park.

On a rainy day, you can spend some time at historic castles as well as museums in Devon. The tourist hotspots of this historic county include the Lundy Island, where you can interact with puffins and seals, Dartmouth, a charming town with ancient streets and scenic countryside, and the deep Lydford gorge, surrounded by dense forests.

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Conclusion:

So, now you know some of the UK’s best family vacation destinations. These places are sure to offer both kids and adults truly memorable experiences, making you want to visit them again and again.

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Guest Articles

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for People Who Love to Travel

Alex Marginean

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Photo by Honey Fangs on Unsplash
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Are you looking to buy the perfect gift for the travel lover in your life? Well, look no further! We’ve put together the ultimate gift guide full of our favorite travel items to help you choose the ideal present.

Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2020 – £11.99

Why not give the gift of travel inspiration this holiday season? There’s nothing better to stir up some wanderlust than Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2020. This little magazine is stocked full of recommended destinations for 2020. It outlines the top 10 countries to travel to, the top ten cities, the top ten regions and top ten value destinations. With countries such as Bhutan, regions such as the silk road, cities including Galway and value destinations such as Tunisia, covered in detail, give the travel lover in your life a new wish list for 2020.

Solar Power Charger – £25+

Every travel lover needs a solar power charger. This item is a much needed essential when backpacking or travelling off the beaten path. Solar power chargers are a sustainable source of power that you can use on the go without having to worry about getting access to a mains supply of electricity. They can be used to charge your mobile phone, tablet, laptop or camera and all they need to charge is plenty of sunlight. There are many varieties available and they can vary in price from £25 all the way up to over £100.

Lush Naked Products – £2+

Lush is at the forefront of created package-free toiletries. Their latest Naked range offers you shower gels, body moisturizers, deodorant, face wash, shampoos & conditioners and cosmetics. Not only are these products plastic-free but they are vegan, ethically sourced and travel-friendly! Forget the 100ml limit, solid soap can be carried in hand luggage. Lush has made Naked version of many of their favorites such as Sleepy, Dirty or Christmas classic Snow Fairy, costs start from £2 and the average cost for a naked shower gel is £9.

High Factor SPF Moisturizer – £7.50+

In order to have fun in the sun, you need to protect your skin. The gift of a high factor SPF moisturizer will do just that. There are many options out there including high SPF BB creams or tinted SPF moisturizers. Rituals do an SPF 50 moisturizer for £15.50, which is both protecting and fast absorbing. If you are looking into giving a tinted SPF50 BB Cream then look no further than Maybelline Dream Urban Cover Foundation, which is SPF 50 and gives added coverage for only £7.50.  If you want to spend a little extra, then It Cosmetics is your best bet. Designed by cosmetic surgeons, this BB Cream has full coverage, is SPF 50 and has anti-ageing properties, it comes with a higher price tag at £30.

Filtered Water Bottle – £20+

One of the main costs that travelers face is paying for bottled water. You never know when you’re going to be caught short and can often find yourselves being charged above and beyond the normal asking price. This is where the filtered water bottle comes in! This handy bottle means that you no longer need to pay for bottled water and can use water from the tap. The built-in filter cleans the unsanitary water making it safe for you to drink. This gift is not only a handy investment that will help them save money on their next trip, but it is also the perfect reusable gift that will help cut down in the usage of unnecessary plastic bottles. It’s important to choose a filtered water bottle that filters out all bacteria and is not just for improving water taste quality. This means that they tend to be higher-cost items. The Aqua-Pure Lifesaver Traveler Bottle is 650ml and costs £37, it is designed for drinking water and for cooking. The best budget option is the Water-To-Go Bottle which is 750ml and comes in at a more reasonable £20.

Fujifilm Instax Polaroid Camera – £54.99 +

Polaroid cameras are fast becoming a popular travel accessory. Being able to take a quick snap and hold the photo in your hands is a novelty that has been lost since we swapped to digital cameras and camera phones. This retro style of photography is coming back in a big way. There are a variety of models out there to choose from. The Fujifilm Instax is one of the most popular models and costs from £54.99. The film is extra, as are the protective cases.

GoPro Camera – £174.00 +

A GoPro camera is made for travelling. They are compact, easy to use and can take great videos and photos of your travels no matter what activity you get up to. Many travel bloggers are opting to use a GoPro over a DSLR as they are easy to travel with and won’t take up extra space in your backpack. They are also waterproof and incredibly durable, unlike traditional digital cameras that can be fragile. There are many models to choose from such as Hero 7 & Hero 8.  Prices start from £174.00 and accessories are sold separately.

Fitbit – £94.99 +

Staying on top of your health whilst travelling can be hard, especially with the lack of sleep and plenty of new foods and drink to indulge in. A Fitbit can help you stay on top of your fitness by tracking your steps, sleep, heart rate and the number of calories you take in and burn off. It is also ideal for anyone who cycles, swims or runs as it will record your distance, the route and your results. There are a variety of Fitbits available with a starting price of £94.99.

Personalized Luggage Tags/Suitcase Covers – £8 +

A special gift for a couple going on a honeymoon or for someone who is always losing their luggage. Personalized luggage tags and suitcase covers can either be luxurious or hilarious. Some offer personalized leather tags with the traveller’s initials, whereas another version is a suitcase tag or cover with the person’s face. It’s up to you! There are some great varieties available on notonthehighstreet.com. Prices start from £8. If you want to opt for the suitcase cover with a photo or picture this is available at Firebox for £29.99 and would make the ultimate joke gift.

CamelBak Hydration Backpack – £29.99 +

This is the perfect gift for anyone who is passionate about adventure travel or who loves to go on hiking holidays. A CamelBak Hydration Backpack is a bag that has a built-in water reservoir that has a straw attached allowing hikers, bikers and backpackers to drink handsfree whilst on the go. Bags can hold a variety of water, with some holding 1.5L and some holding up to 13L. Prices start off at £29.99 but go up as the amount of water held increases.

Scratch Map – £6.99

A scratch map is an ideal way to keep on track with how many countries and destinations you have visited. There are many options available, with a generic scratch map or a personalized map available. There are also regional scratch maps that focus on just Europe or North America. Help inspire their wanderlust and give this gift along with the Lonely Planet Best in Travel 2020. Scratch maps are available from Amazon and start from £6.99.

 

About the author: This article was written by Sarah McCann. Sarah is an avid traveler and has spent a year teaching in China, and in her spare time she loves discovering new places and writing about them. She is currently the Blog Editor at My Baggage, who help tourists ship their luggage ahead globally and take the stress out of travelling.

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