The XXIV CITUR Congress for tourism deemed successful

first_imgThe 24th Inter-American Ministerial Congress on Tourism today, wrapped up its two-day session at the Marriott Hotel with more fruitful discussions by ministers and high-level authorities on achieving sustainable tourism, through multi-destination travel and building resilience in the tourism sector.Following ten plenary sessions by officials, today’s all-day meeting concluded with the adoption of the ‘Declaration of Georgetown’. This document forms the basis for the development of partnerships for the growth of the tourism industry in the Americas.Minister of Business with responsibility for Tourism, Dominic Gaskin, who chaired the conference, noted that the discussions will ensure a transformed tourism sector in Guyana.“What was good about it (the Congress) were the discussions…a lot of the topics discussed were very relevant to Guyana. We have a lot to learn. We are fairly young as a tourism destination. To have all these expertise from different countries in the same room is very good exposure for us”, Minister Gaskin said.He added, “It was very valuable for us and it gave us a sense of where we are and where we need to go with tourism in Guyana.”Executive Secretary for Integral Development of the Organisation of American States, Kim Osborne highlighted some of the high points stemming out of the meeting for most of the representatives.“What we had was strong indications of support, collaboration and co-operation between and among countries, to share dialogue and experiences, to share lessons learnt and good practices; to the extent that member states have offered co-operation to each other. We are grateful for the outcome of the meeting”, Osborne said.She also commended Guyana for hosting a memorable event. She enthused, “Guyana did an amazing job at hosting and showing the product it has to offer. I think it hosting this ministerial congress really positions it as an emerging destination in the Americas with the flora and fauna, and amazing natural products. It is something people were not really aware of, and it was an opportunity to tell the rest of the Americas what Guyana has to offer.”This year’s Inter-American Congress of Ministers and High-Level Authorities of Tourism saw a total of 26 Organisation of American States (OAS) member states representatives, participating. The next Congress is expected to be held in Paraguay in 2021.last_img read more

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GREAT OPEN DAY AT DONEGAL DONKEY SANCTUARY – PICTURE SPECIAL

first_imgThese two lads certainly enjoyed the fun at the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary Open Day in Raphoe. All pictures by Joe Boland at Northwest Newspix.GREAT OPEN DAY AT DONEGAL DONKEY SANCTUARY – PICTURE SPECIAL was last modified: June 14th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img

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A City and a County Launch Green Building Incentive Programs

first_imgLas Vegas and North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County have joined a growing list of cities trying to stimulate green construction by offering rebates to builders and, in Nevada, remodelers as well.Last week, Las Vegas officials announced that the city launched its Green Building Rebate Program, which offers rebates for new construction and existing commercial and residential retrofits that meet standards set by any one of five green building rating programs: U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED system; the Southern Nevada Green Building Partnership; the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes assessment tool (whose standards, which are for commercial projects, are developed under the auspices of the American National Standards Institute); NV Energy’s Energy Plus New Homes program for single-family homes (within regional utility NV Energy’s service area); and NV Energy’s Sure Bet program for nonresidential NV Energy customers.The rebates cover fees for expedited plans checks, building permits, and certifications. In addition, notes a press release issued by the city, the building or project will be recognized on the city’s website or in future promotional materials.The Las Vegas program, which applies to projects with a start date of July 2, 2009, or later, is offered in collaboration with NV Energy and HomeFree Nevada, a “whole house” home-improvement initiative based on Energy Star guidelines.In the Tar Heel StateA program that since last year has offered rebates on green commercial construction in Mecklenburg County (on the southern border of central-western North Carolina) has recently been expanded to include residential construction.Five certification programs are participating in the county’s rebate initiative: USGBC’s LEED for Homes; Green Globes; EarthCraft House; the North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes program; and the National Association of Home Builders’ National Green Building Standard.The Charlotte Business Journal notes that rebates can cover as much as 25% of net permit fees, up to $100,000. Rebate amounts also are tied to the rating level of the project, with, for example, a LEED Silver certification bringing a 15% rebate and a LEED Platinum rating bringing a 25% rebate. Builders must apply to the county’s code enforcement department before receiving a certificate of occupancy, and the county must receive proof of certification before granting a rebate.last_img read more

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The Current YouTube Economy Is In Peril

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#advertisers#online video#YouTube 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App fruzsina eordogh 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout When you ask the average net citizen what they think will happen to YouTube in the next couple of years, the response is optimistic. And why wouldn’t it be?At face value, the YouTube ecosphere—with its growing sectors of talent managers, brokers, production companies, advertising agencies and marketers, tool and analytics developers—is the new, digital Hollywood with a tech startup feel, and it can only get better from here.When you ask the industry insiders and business executives who’ve set up shop in this new YouTube economy the same question, you get a more pragmatic, if not a tad pessimistic, prediction.YouTube-centric CEOs and digital leaders peered into the crystal ball of the immediate future at this year’s unofficial YouTubers’ conference VidCon in Anaheim, California and what they saw—or think they saw—involved peril and even bankruptcy. YouTube has massive potential to revolutionize the entertainment industry and redefine storytelling, but in order to do that, the industry has to first start making money. This can happen by either YouTube charging less money for its services and the arrival of a competitor, or big brands injecting capital.If neither of these happens soon, much of “new Hollywood” could go out of business. And maybe that’s not such a bad thing.Trouble In MCN LandMultichannel networks, or MCNs, are a weird hybrid of production studio, ad network and talent management that operate independently from Google while existing mostly on YouTube. They’ve managed to raise large amounts of capital from investors like Google and Time Warner, but quite a few are still struggling to make a profit. Although technically “new Hollywood,” MCNs are rather reliant on traditional business models and do very “old Hollywood”-like things like having contract disputes with talent or asking teenagers to sign four-year contracts. One MCN is currently being sued by both a former top talent and a former CEO for two entirely different reasons.Scandals aside, the current MCN business model that’s reliant on ad revenue is, well, “screwed” and “unsustainable”—especially the MCNs that have hundreds or thousands of channels. These words were spoken by three different business executives: entrepreneur Mark Suster (one of the first investors in the MCN Maker Studios) in his keynote, Jim Louderback the CEO of the rare profitable MCN Revision3 in his talk as well as a later interview, and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis in his closing keynote. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… First-time VidCon attendee Peter Bray, the director of digital at the global ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, predicts the “MCNs that don’t appear to be making money” will “be swallowed” in a impending period of “aggregation,” among themselves and by traditional media companies. In some ways, this is already happening: Discovery Networks purchased Revision3 in March, and then shortly thereafter acquired the portfolio of Revision3’s top talent Philip DeFranco. Just last week, Maker Studios announced it would be purchasing the professional video platform Blip. Mike Bienstock of Semaphore, the business management and tax company that helped broker the deal between DeFranco, Discovery and Revision3, believes the deal he worked on will serve as a “template for future deals” for other YouTube celebrities reaching that “crossroad.”YouTube’s Unfairness Will Drive Businesses Into Competitors’ ArmsThis unsustainable economy driving consolidation is “do no evil” Google’s fault, say the business executives. The search giant takes 45% of all revenue from YouTube ad sales. Google has every right to take a portion to maintain all its services but critics say 45% is too high given how little they actually make on YouTube.Through the Partner Program, YouTubers make on average $3-$5 per thousand views, a figure known as CPM or cost per thousand. But if that creator is also part of an MCN (which many are), then that YouTuber also gives the MCN on average about 30% of their earnings. The pie is small to begin with, but a small pie cut into little pieces leaves no one satisfied. Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bray, as a newcomer to the industry, described the way “the dollars are being distributed” on YouTube as “simply unfair” when you compare them to the music industry. Yuri Baranovsky, the founder of the award-winning HLG Studios and veteran of the industry, took it up a notch when he wrote in an email the “Partner Program needs some serious revamping” because “right now, it feels an awful lot like a filmmaking sweatshop where quality is traded for sheer quantity at low, low prices.” Baranovsky continued:Yes, some creators are making millions, but those are the exceptions—for the most part, I think many are forced to spew out weekly content (quality be damned) for an entire year while barely getting enough money to survive. That’s not sustainable nor does it create very good art.YouTube is able to get away with this high percentage, argue critics, because it currently has no strong competitors. Entrepreneur Calacanis’ closing keynote on the last day of VidCon was all about rallying YouTubers to petition YouTube to give them “a better deal”—that is, take a smaller share of ad revenue. Calacanis even suggested getting off the platform and cozying up to competitors in the meantime until their demands are met. Ray William Johnson—YouTube’s first millionaire and the top talent suing Maker Studios—has already done this by joining the video site Blip, as has iJustine with her fitness tech show on AOL. Both made the move this spring. Maker Studio’s interest in Blip also shows the MCN’s desire to get off the YouTube platform.   Maker Studio’s investor Suster described the way YouTube deals with MCNs as “ignoring” them in his keynote, a big mistake considering there’s “so much pressure in this business to pop up elsewhere” on competitor platforms, or on their own.  When ReadWrite reached out to YouTube to comment on the issues MCNs and folks like Calacanis are having with YouTube’s high cut, the company didn’t even address it. Clearly, what happens to MCNs is none of YouTube’s concern. A YouTube spokesperson had this to say when asked for comment: Creators are connecting with audiences and advertisers with one billion engaged fans and growing their businesses online successfully at a rapid rate. We’re committed to our creators and have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in fast, simple streaming of content to a global audience.The Big Brands Will Save, If Not Liberate, The CreatorsThe bright spot in the emerging YouTube economy is the arrival of big brands and their large amounts of cash, which they will then put into the industry either through advertising or brand deals with YouTubers and MCNs.Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bray, who was surprised he was the only person from a large ad agency in attendance at VidCon, described his role at the conference as “a sponge,” and hopes that once more brands and ad agencies get on YouTube they “don’t ruin it” by “disrupting” the “conversation, connection” the YouTuber has with their fans by force an old business model harness on the space.  Bray was genuinely impressed with the fandom and community he saw, calling the YouTube ecosphere “incredibly leading edge,” “authentic” and reminding him “of 1995, when the Internet was just starting to gain momentum.” However unstable the current ecosystem is regarding MCNs and unfair revenue splits, Bray feels it’s best to work within the system.Attendees at the Orabrush booth.Others disagree, to an extent.“From a brand standpoint, I’ve tried so many times to work with a network [MCN], and I can’t ever get anything done” said Jeffrey Harmon, the head of marketing at Orabrush, the first company to do all their advertising through YouTube. “I just go straight to the talent—that’s why we come here, we’re friends with YouTubers, and YouTubers are like, ‘oh, I understand this network wants to charge you lots of money but I really like Orabrush so I will just do it anyway’,” added Harmon. Why should a small business like his go through a middle-man, Harmon reasons.  Ricky Butler, president of the brand integration and content strategy company Plaid Social Labs, has a list of “hundreds” of YouTubers he works with personally in the event they change contracts or move to a different MCN (or if MCNs disappear altogether due to lack of profitability). Butler’s vision of the future includes YouTubers “in the position where they can host their own ads and instead of being exclusive with one network, they’re going to give networks options to advertise on their channels. That’s how it is every else online.” Basically, YouTubers in complete control over their ad choices and brand deals. Some Stability In Tools And Big DataAnother bright spot in this otherwise ailing digital economy are the analytics and YouTube tool companies that show no signs of hemorrhaging money or scandal. Dane Golden, an independent marketing analyst for hey.com, believes YouTube’s future will be “founded on big data and audience engagement tools” and “any company that is doing this for a business should be tracking analytics on several different levels.” Golden went on to cite the management tool ZEFR, along with MCNs Maker Studios and Fullscreen, as great examples of companies in the YouTube-sphere using big data right.Fullscreen was actually mentioned by Revision3’s Louderback too, as “doing the smart thing on the MCN side where they bring brands in and provide services for large companies to help them get the most out of YouTube.” Fullscreen’s success as an MCN by diversifying in this way, and providing services to brands with its tools is not particularly sustainable either, however.“In the early days of Facebook and Twitter you had all these social media consultants who would come in and help you tweet and help you Facebook, but now all those companies have moved this in-house and the same thing will happen to YouTube,” predicted Louderback. “Fullscreen is doing a great job of filling that void” said Louderback, but what will happen to Fullscreen once brands no longer need help in the YouTube space? The Future For New Hollywood Is Frighteningly Unclear In order to stabilize the current YouTube economy either Google reduces the size of their ad revenue portion or brands start baking larger pies (i.e., spending more money in the space). Both are tall orders: Google reducing its fees seems unlikely considering they don’t view MCNs lack of profitability as their problem, but waiting for that big-brand money pie to bake may take years. Until that cash infusion happens, the consolidation of the space will continue, to what some business executives describe as a detriment to YouTubers.The worst case scenario, of the old Hollywood portions of this new industry (aka MCNs) going out of business,  might be best option for YouTubers as it would provide them the most freedom and a realization of the indie dream… but this too is unlikely given the rising trend in consolidation and business executives desire to make money on every frontier. YouTubers being the masters of their fame and fans is what puts the “new” in “new Hollywood” but it’s the “Hollywood” (the managers, agents and executives) that give the industry its validity, its appeal to big money. Or is it?  As Saatchi & Saatchi’s Bray noted, the real power here may lie in the strength and size of the fans and individual stars.  The true monetary potential of New Hollywood may lie in the shedding of its MCNs. Note: The name of ZEFR Software has been corrected.YouTube sign image by Eric Fleischauer. Orabrush image by Fruzsina Eördögh.last_img read more

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7 Amarnath pilgrims killed in terror attack

first_imgSeven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 12 injured when terrorists opened fire at a patrol vehicle on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway on Monday night. A police official said the vehicle came under fire at Anantnag’s Batengo area around 8.30 p.m.The attack took place when quick response teams of the Army had withdrawn from the highway around sunset, making the vehicle vulnerable.“A mini-bus carrying Amarnath pilgrims also got hit in the militant fire,” said the police official.Batengo is a small stopover at Khanabal with sparse population and large swathes of fields.Hospital sources said six pilgrims were killed in the attack and later one died of injuries in hospital. Three of those injured were in a critical state.Six of the seven killed were from Gujarat’s Valsad district. According to sources, there were 60 passengers in the bus and were all mostly from Surat, Valsad and Daman. The bus belonged to Om travels in Valsad in South Gujarat. The bus left Gujarat on 2nd July. Darshan was completed day before yesterday.”Six people killed in the terrorist attack are from Valsad,” said Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani. He added, “bodies of Amarnath Pilgrims killed in Anantnag terror attack along with injured will be flown to Gujarat by IAF plane.” The mini-bus was proceeding from Jammu to Srinagar.An official said it was not registered with the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board and was travelling against the advisory not to ply after sunset.The police had asked all vehicles carrying pilgrims to cross the Jawahar Tunnel in daylight and avoid travelling in the Valley after sundown.Meanwhile, political parties have condemned the attack. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said it was an attack on Kashmir’s culture and value system. “No stone will be left unturned to bring the perpetrators to justice,” she said.“These terrorists are the enemies of Kashmir & Kashmiriyat. Every right-thinking Kashmiri must today condemn the killing of the Amarnath yatris and say, unequivocally — this is #NotInMyName,” wrote former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Twitter.The Centre said it had not taken any decision on calling off the yatra.CRPF DG R.R Bhatnagar told The Hindu that any decision to “call off or continue” the yatra would be taken by the State government. CRPF is one of the main security forces deployed along the 40-day annual Yatra.(With inputs from Vijaita Singh, Mahesh Langa and PTI)last_img read more

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The unlikely social media heroes of Kashmir

first_imgAs a young Kashmir-based advocate A.S. Majid (name changed) takes up the Facebook-linked quiz ‘Which rebel best suits your personality?’, the web-based reply sets off a long thread of debate. The reply has likened him with the deceased Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, whose killing in 2016 set off a cycle of violence. The Facebook-linked quiz has held netizens, especially the young population in the Valley, in a sway as scores of profiles pop up on searching the quiz.“When I took up the quiz, I was not sure about the reply. I thought it will throw up some comic character while relating to my personality. Instead, I found Wani. I was pleasantly surprised. Slain Wani did impact our lives in many ways,” said Mr. Majid, adding, “Many of my friends too took up the quiz. But not many were ‘Burhan Wani’.”The quiz mostly correlates netizens’ personalities with the slain militant commanders of 2017, like Hizb-ul Mujahideen’s Sabzar Bhat, Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Abu Dujana and Wani. The name of Zakir Musa of the Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, a group that is believed to have links with the al-Qaeda, also comes up as an option. The faces of all these commanders have been popular online. The quiz, created by an unknown person whose profile is named Devil’x Dadd, was curated on Facebook, with youngsters hooking up to know the results. A website, testony.com, allows netizens to create their own quiz and supports the search system that throws up the results locally.“This year has been a tough year during which militancy was not only fought on the ground but off-ground too, that is, on online social media. From customised phone applications to producing online films to roping in youth into militancy, social media and the Internet have turned into a potent weapon to galvanise support for militancy in Kashmir,” explained a counter-insurgency police official.The official revealed that over 2,000 Twitter handles that champion “the Kashmir issue” are operated from overseas locations. “Such a quiz is easy to set up overseas without attracting action. It is worrying,” said the police official.Kashmir’s leading psychiatrist Dr. Arshad Hussian, a professor at the Government Medical College, Srinagar, explains the phenomena thus: “Teens tend to look for heroes in every society. Before militancy in Kashmir, comic heroes like Robin Hood or Chacha Chaudhary were popular among youngsters. Heroes emerge from a socio-political context. Kashmir being a conflict zone with militant figures dominating the daily narrative, teens are pulled towards their persona. Most of those who took up the quiz may not become militants, but it shows who are the fast-emerging heroes.”Ruling People’s Democratic Party youth wing leader Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra is aware of the challenge before the government, especially given that youth constitute 69% of the total population in Jammu and Kashmir. ‘A sense of defeat’ “Youth [in Kashmir] live with a sense of defeat and do not aspire to be happy. It is a challenge: why do young people see dignity in death and volunteer for death? Many youth in Kashmir see and visualise dignity in death and volunteer for militancy,” he added.Mr. Parra said the government in J&K was reaching out to the youth from the village level onward. “We are trying to listen to the youth to create a participatory process,” he said.last_img read more

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