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The world is becoming one big global village and businesses no longer keep their operations in the fetters of geographical limits. Break your boundaries by exploring our list of top destinations for business tourism.
The beauty of business tourism is beyond the level of relaxation it could offer but how much it could inspire travelers to wax stronger in their various sectors or venture into new ideas. Of course, everyone loves to leave their city of maximum work input for someplace with new air, cultural experience and sights. And the pleasure has to come with a little room to integrate business agendas while you explore new business opportunities and connections. As the spring makes way for summer, it’s okay to make your list of top destinations for business tourism.
Industry leaders Magazine has compiled a list of 10 top destinations for business tourism considering factors – the level of comfort, travel cost, availability of work resources and the level of new opportunities. As a team with new cultural opportunities in mind, we focused on the top destinations for business tourism for maximum travel benefits.
Top destinations for business tourism
As the best city for startups (outside Silicon Valley), Austin features burgeoning tech and business inspiring scenes established by varying startups speedily developing the city. Before now, Austin has generally been a top business travel destination during Southwest (SXSW) events and festivals which take place in the first quarter of every year. But the city has claimed more commercial portfolios to increase business trips in several folds. It’s no surprise that every business tycoon wants a trip to the fastest growing city in the United States.
Austin is famous for its barbecue, breakfast tacos, lively music scene, and a bizarre motto: “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s located within the great Texas Hill Country, at the heart of Texas and as a home to several waterways; rivers, lakes, including Lake Travis and Lady Bird Lake on the Colorado River, Lake Walter E. Long, McKinney Falls, and Barton Springs, there are lots of natural scenes and beautiful places for outdoor relaxation.
Berlin is the German capital housing big and globally recognized companies. As a crucial business hub in Europe premiering in various sectors, Berlin is also a paradise for architecture aficionados. It’s most remarkably known for its Bauhaus art school built in 1919, which is the reason why it’s a top business tourism destination this year, even though the school existed for only 14 years. The ‘architecture house’ referred to as the Scholars of Bauhaus were guided by the fundamental premise of creating a link between craftsmanship and art – the idea of a democratic design for all. And the school has become one of the century’s most influential modernist art schools and its influence is far-reaching. Aside from the recognition of its style around the world, the school has paved the way for modern architecture and avant-garde art.
All through 2019, the atmosphere in Berlin will remain refreshing as Germany celebrates 100 years of the transformation school of thought this year. Business travelers are carefully conceding to the event, moving workshops, exhibitions, and other business events to Berlin to make them remarkable.
Mexico City, Mexico
Over the years, headlines have undermined Mexico City’s reputation, painting the densely populated city as polluted, dangerous, violent and dirty. While such reputations have forced many into being skeptical of visiting the city for so long now, you need to be informed that a lot has changed within the past decade. Tourists and business travelers now frequently visit the sprawling metropolis of roughly 22 million people who fly down to explore this unexplored city.
In the 1990s, population levels in Mexico City were among the highest in the world. However, this is no longer the city’s distinguishing attribute at present. The government’s radical approach has drastically improved air quality and scrubbed up the city which is now one of the most important cultural and financial centers in America. To politely highlight the city’s achievement in tackling pollution, the World Health Organization’s ranking estimates that one is now more likely to die in the UK from pollution-related sicknesses than in Mexico.
Malmo is Sweden’s third-largest city, only behind Stockholm and Gothenburg. Despite this record, Malmö, located on the southern coast of Sweden is still seen as a low-key city to both Swedes and foreigners.
Aside from all the arteries of civilization in the city, natural beauty and serenity is still the core substance of Malmo. During summer, visitors to the city experience the full vibration of the city. In this time also, brilliant sunshine replaces astonishing Sweden’s chilly winter weather, resulting in a temperature of about 30 degree Celsius in the city. The city observes two major summer festivals -Sommarscen and Malmöfestivalen, which contributes to the city’s vibrant life.
There are lots of cultural attractions in Malmo for visitors to enjoy. There is the Malmö Castle, nestled in the heart of Slottsmöllan, Malmo’s ‘green lungs’. Visitors will also find the design museum and the bright orange contemporary art gallery a facilitating site.
Cape Town, South Africa
For any traveler who seeks to enjoy amazing sites, interesting cultures and breath-taking hospitality, Cape Town in South Africa is the place to go. The city is a well-rounded destination that offers a true sight of the skillful art of nature and the innovative ideas of human at its best.
For the past 20 years, Cape Town has been named seven times as the best travel destination in Africa at the World Tourism Awards. This feast will come as no surprise when you consider the bustling city center, the dramatic mountain ranges, pristine white beaches, and the Cape Floral Region that the city boasts of.
The city has in recent years made a huge investment in tourism. There has been the introduction of new galleries, restaurants, bars, artisan markets, and others, just for the pleasure and comfort of visitors. To find the choicest local cuisine, take a walk into the Neighborhoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill. The coolest bars and restaurants in Cape Town can be found easily on the vibrant Kloof Street.
Seattle has been responsible for some of the most important cultural development since the 20th century. Located in Washington State, Seattle is one of those business travel destinations that do not just offer premium relaxation and refreshment but also leaves you much inspired.
It is one of the fastest-growing major cities in the US, yet it’s amazing that the city takes things at its pace. For visitors, the city offers the original Starbucks coffee at Pike Place Market to help begin their day. In the numerous exceptional restaurants located in the streets of Seattle, visitors can find Culinary delights.
The city center is its central creative energy. Situated there are the Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Museum of Pop Culture. The city’s first luxury hotel, Benjamin Franklin, built in 1929 is also located in the city center. For whatever reason, you visit Seattle, be rest assured that you will leave feeling excited and enriched.
Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia is once again becoming a major travel destination for business tourism if not the most visited place in the Caucasus. The city’s diverse and colorful history is engineered by its proximity to the lucrative Silk Road trade route. It was once a key trade point for Asian and European merchants as it was once the home of Georgia’s prosperous textile industry. Georgia’s liberal politics attract a lot of Western tourists for visitations even beyond business missions. While the flourishing country is still deploying measures to do away with the old Soviet Union image most people still think of it, Tbilisi tourism has proven that it’s a modern place for business travelers in the Caucasus.
Before the fall of USSR in 1991, Georgia was plunged into a period of economic depression and civil war in the 20th century when it was occupied by the Soviet Union. Since the rebuilding process started, it has regained most of its creative roots and legacy. The Old Town, which has topsy-turvy wooden buildings and cobbled streets, is home to most of the city’s major attractions.
Patmos is an island with an immense religious significance. Though arguably Greece’s most underrated islands, Patmos happens to also be among the favorites and the most popular destination for visitors of Greece.
The location of the island, north of Greece’s Dodecanese island group, ensures that the island is complete as a classic Greek isle with several iconic whitewashed walls and ancient castles. The island comprises of beautiful beaches, of which the sandy Petra Beach located on the south side of the island is chief.
For religious visitors, the island offers one of the most significant places to the Christian faith, the Holy Cave of the Apocalypse. The cave believed to be the location where the Theologian Saint John wrote the Book of Revelation. This cave situated almost halfway up the island’s mountain, has over the years drawn lots of religious pilgrims to the island. There are lots of upscale hotels and traditional lodgings on the island of Patmos that ensures every visitor feels the island to be an ideal travel destination.
Prague, Czech Republic
The capital of Czech Republic, Prague, is another top destination for business tourism in Europe. Prague is bisected by the Vltava River, making it one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals. The city is never off-season; business-inspiring activities are interminable throughout the year. It has nearly 800 hotels scattered around the city which has a direct route from 165 destinations.
Prague has inspired many notable scientists and artists. It has quite a mysterious atmosphere remarkably depicted in the works of its native son Franz Kafka. The famous saying: “the people of Prague understand me,” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart first performed Don Giovanni, his best-known opera, in Prague 230 years ago. The theatre where it was performed still stands today. However, business travelers would find more than just culture and a wealth of incentive ideas in Prague, as an up-and-coming business destination.
Annecy is a beautiful French city located at the northernmost tip of a mountain-fringed lake. Sometimes called the ‘Venice of the Alps,’ the city, which features cobbled streets and winding canals, never fail to live up to the romantic reputation. Despite Annecy’s emerging status as a top business tourism destination in Europe, it has managed to preserve most of its old-town charm. The city is home to unique turreted castles and lordly manor of the 12th century.
With two major international airports (Geneva and Lyon-Saint-Exupéry) serving Annecy, travelers easily get into the city located in the southeast of France which is just a few hours from neighboring Italy and Switzerland. It’s quite easy to access Lake Annecy’s crystal clear waters, which is Europe’s purest lake, from several urban centers in Europe. While most businesses are moving to Paris following Brexit talks, the charming city of Annecy features most of France’s treasure. Business travelers and tourists are increasingly choosing the fairy tale city as their destination mostly during the summer for quality relaxation within the shores of Lake Annecy.
Cannabis in Latin America, without the stigma, could be as clean as any region considered violent-free. In a classic context, the UK and North America hold the biggest market share in the cannabis industry, because it’s a legal business in those regions. How would Latin America fare if allowed to participate in the cannabis market? Investors have indeed found a new fortune in growing the once illicit plant.
I ran into an old friend some weeks ago at LaGuardia Airport, on my way to River North, Chicago. Of course, a lot should change about him; it’s over six years since we last saw each other. He has become deeply introverted and would look at people like a "cybernetic being,” constantly processing some useful information about them at every glance. I also noticed it was taking him longer to respond to questions.
It seems your perception about life has changed a bit, what’s the secret? I politely asked. Yes! In fact, I had to unlearn all that I’ve learned in my entire life, he replied, after mumbling a few words. I began seeing life differently two years, he added. From further inquiries, I learned his cousin had introduced drugs to him. That drastically changed him, at least his social life. This is not the type of change going on in the Latin American Cannabis market.
For as many years as we can recall, small and single-engine airplanes have flown illegal drugs from the coastal plains of Sinaloa, Mexico or the Andes’ fertile ridges to buyers who distribute them to the rest of the world. In those days, all the proceeds from Hong Kong and Moscow mafias are safely laundered back to Latin American real estate by the drug kingpins. However, a serious change is going on to legally unmask the shady deals and legitimize cannabis in Latin America.
Nowadays, the drug is a highly-tested yellowish oil that ships from international airports on cargo flights without any form of worry about authorities. That’s because cannabis – once labeled Latin American product – is becoming legal for medical purposes in the region. This change is encouraging a group of Latin American startups to complete with Canadian greenhouses on cost in a move to take away major marijuana market share from North America.
For the past two years, cannabis in Latin America is getting a boost as many cannabis companies have registered with facilities and licenses in Colombia to produce various kinds of cannabis-related products. Local pharmaceutical company Clever Leaves, founded in 2016, earlier this year gained regulatory approval to begin commercial farming of medical cannabis in Latin America. The company is currently operating 5 hectares of cannabis cultivation facilities undergoing certification process for Agricultural Collection Practices (GACP). It’s also working on a top-of-the-line extract facility that can produce up to 30,000,000 ml of full spectrum cannabis oil every year. Khiron Life Science, also founded in 2016, is manufacturing Kuida – a skin care product – using CBD oil. Mexican entrepreneurs are equally responding to this development. Mino Labs pharmaceutical is working with Colombia’s PharmaCielo to manufacture health and wellness products. Fundación Daya of Chile is already planting cannabis buds for medicinal use. On 23rd May, the nonprofit organization partnered with de Rengo municipality for the sales of 20 mg of THC and 9 mg of CBD to patients for medical use.
These startups and others in a similar course are not limiting their brands within their national borders but also targeting other regions with new attitudes towards cannabis. Uruguay opened doors to legalize cannabis six years ago, and other Latin American countries, including Chile and Peru, are following up the increasing flexible commercial regulations in Columbia. For instance, Khiron is processing legal framework to market its skin care product Kuida in Peru and Mexico.
A global market, which is more lucrative, is the target for these companies, not a regional dominance. Khiron, for instance, is also eyeing the US market for its Kuida and could bring in the product before the last quarter of 2019. It plans to sell as much as 120,000 units of cannabis-based skin care products in the US, Peru, Mexico, and Colombia. Clever Leaves’ next target is the European market.
The global cannabis market will inevitably flip upside down, there’s no doubt about it. “It’s a question of when,” says Clever Leaves CEO and co-founder Andres Fajardo.
In addition to Cannabis’ new social outlook, these Latin American startups also have other advantages over their peers in North America, in their quest to redraw the global cannabis market. They include 12 hours of sunlight all the year, cheap land, low-cost electricity, and greenhouses, Fajardo added.
These advantages could be very important now that the world’s medicinal cannabis market is estimated to reach $146 billion by 2025, says Grand View Research. The cannabis market, currently dominated by UK and Canada, is valued $40 billion in estimation. For a very long time, efforts to move into the market by Latin American entrepreneurs have been ridiculed by violence associated with drug-trafficking. Legal or illegal, the Latin America cannabis market in the region is estimated at $9.8 billion. However, commodity-based economies in the region have suffered the effects of global price instability. For instance, Chile’s copper and Colombia’s coffee.
Entrepreneurs who are legitimizing the Latin America cannabis market are actually working hard to add value aside from capturing the value of a once illicit plant.
Khiron’s office in Bogotá’s Chicó district has since become a rendezvous for professionals. The company’s head of skin care business Elsa Navarro would dress in her regularly corporate-looking attire and present just a line of the well-packaged skin care products, referencing cannabis leaf subtly. The company has a skin rub for nighttime, a $22 cream for those fragile, soft patches under the eyes. There’s also a spray designed to stimulate relaxation.
Dealing with the stigma around cannabis in Latin America
Colombian actress, TV presenter, model, and journalist Catalina Aristizábal – also a health-obsessed mother of two – is Kuida’s brand ambassador. Also, former Mexican president Vicente Fox is advising Khiron. When it first hired Navarro, its head of skin care business, the company told her she would oversee sales for a cannabis company based in Colombia. “Now we are global,” she says. The company is speedily accessing varying destinations around the world to launch its product. Navarro joined members of the company’s legal team in January to properly evaluate import regulations in Europe. “It was like 10 of us,” she says. It looks like we can export to Italy, she continued.
Societies around the world continue to be plagued by black markets where heroin and cocaine change hands. That’s part of the conditions that encouraged lawmakers and leaders in British Colombia, Denver and California to begin thinking differently about the use of cannabis for treating anxiety, epilepsy, pain, and other medicinal uses, with cannabis for medical use legalization starting to creep into our society in the early 2000s.
South American nations welcomed the message. In 2016, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos supported a push for the legalization of cannabis for medicine by Senator Juan Manuel Galán Pachón. Other Latin American presidents (Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico, Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, and César Gaviria of Colombia) joined the wagon and began lobbying for decimalization and regulation of drugs in the world. Of course, it’d be a win-win for the region in terms of economic value, provided the regulation is effective.
Meanwhile, some veteran political observers are afraid that the peak of cannabis legalization may have passed long ago. According to OZY, former health minister to the Santos government Alejandro Gaviria Uribe says he thinks the world politically broke away from a rational mindset on drugs since 2016. “There was a moment of optimism when people were perceiving a change of rethinking drugs,” he says. The conservatives are having their time again since after that and this could change a lot in the cannabis industry.
The former minister also thinks there’s a lot to worry about products like Kuida. “Producers of cannabis oil haven’t really pinpointed their market… Where is that big market?” asks Uribe. In a different angle, he is concerned if Latin American companies could successfully eke out a factual, value-added pharmaceutical product. Uribe is also concerned if the cannabis market will end up like soybeans or crude oil and trade different grades of CBD and THC.
At the moment, no budding Latin American cannabis company can claim to have made a profit, though none has reported first-quarter results so far. Whereas it’s not as though the region has crushed every competition from the North American producers. The south has more to worry about. Canadian pot producers are turning to the region for the benefits. Canopy Growth and Aurora, for instance, have both planted roots in the south to challenge cannabis entrepreneurs from Latin America.
However, investors believe that Latin American cannabis companies have more advantage in any competition with counterparts in North America. Khiron and Clever Leaves are both heavily backed by investors in the US and Canada. These investors must be munching on the old glories of Latin America – the crop that gave the region a bad name could now change its fortune.
and From an outsider’s perspective, the world of PR looks glamorous. International trips, endless cocktail parties, and press conferences but the reality is far from this distorted image. The business leaders in PR will tell you that PR is closer to grunt work than glamour. It’s more about endless meetings and brainstorming, heightened anxiety and rubbing elbows with crisis when you least expect it.
Business leaders in PR have built their careers working hard behind the scenes. Traditionally, the sole focus of PR was to prevent crisis and maintain media relations. PR’s role has become more pronounced in today’s media integrated world. In its evolved form, PR boosts all business operations – strategic communication, brand building, marketing and HR, among others.
Influential PR professionals are the minds behind the brands we love and admire. They work behind the scenes, advising brands, celebrities, and politicians and solving their PR fiascos.
Here is list of the most influential business leaders in PR
Sir Alan Parker, Founder – Brunswick Group
Sir Alan Parker is the founder of Brunswick Group which is considered to be one of the best PR firms in the world with 24 offices spread across 15 countries. Brunswick has more FTSE 100 clients than any other PR firm of the world. Often regarded as the ‘godfather’ of reputation management, Sir Alan Parker has consulted companies like Thomson Reuters, Burberry, and Times Warner.
Melissa Waggener Zorkin,
CEO - President and Founder - Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Waggener Edstrom Worlwide, founded in 1983 by Melissa Zorkin has grown from a two-person shop to one of the biggest and best PR firms with operations in nearly 100 markets. As one of the most influential PR professionals, Zorkin is recognized for foreseeing the launch of the first Windows version. She has handled public relations of giants like Volvo, McDonald’s, and Cisco.
Global Chairman - Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Christopher Graves started his career in PR after serving as the Head of News at CNBC Asia and Europe for 18 years. As the Global Chairman of Ogilvy PR, he has worked with Nestle, Unilever, Ford, and American Express.
Along with being one of the leading business leaders in PR, he is frequently seen delivering moving speeches at world events like World Economic Forum and Clinton Global Initiative.
Founder – Pramana Collective
Considered to be one of the most influential PR professionals in Tech, Brandee Baker has served as Facebook’s first Head of Global Communications. After leaving Facebook, Baker has been instrumental in boosting several tech companies like Uber, Dropbox, AirBnB, Quip, and Quora.
Her work with tech startups has given her the recognition of the most sought-after image consultant in the startup world.
A longtime political PR specialist, Stephanie Cutter has served as the Deputy Manager for Barack Obama’s 2012 political campaign. She has also worked for President Bill Clinton’s administration, Edward M. Kennedy, and as Michelle Obama’s Chief of Staff before venturing into corporate PR.
Cutter has crafted high-level strategic communications, reputation, and crisis management strategies for a number of big companies and famous personalities.
As PR continues to evolve with the proliferation of social media and interdependence of markets, these influential PR professionals are leading the way. These PR business leaders not only consult C-suite executives with strategic communication and lead the best PR firms, but they also influence the field of PR across the spectrum – introducing new ideas and channels and guiding clients, colleagues, and apprentice PR professionals to follow.
Real estate leaders who are making it big in the competitive industry of real estate. If you want to learn about the nitty-gritty of the housing market, learn from the movers and shakers of the industry, learn from the most influential real estate leaders.
A lot has changed since 2008 in the real estate market. Extensive use of technology, shifting business models, changing seller and buyer expectations, are the trends redefining the commercial and residential real estate market today. Technology has caused a tectonic shift in how Americans buy and sell real estate. According to a 2017 report by National Association of Realtors, 99 percent millennials search online to get information about homes and home buying, followed by 89 percent of older boomers and 77 percent of the silent generation.
Home-buying is a task that baffles everyone, especially the first time buyers. Though prior online research instigates confidence in buyers, finding a house is a far cry from closing a deal with the home owner/seller. A real estate leader is the linchpin in this intimidating territory. Real estate leaders today are backed by technology which has helped make the daunting task of home-buying a lot simpler and streamlined.
In this interview with Jeffrey Detwiler - President and CEO – Long & Foster Companies and one of the most influential real estate leaders in North America, gives us insights into how the Real Estate market had evolved in the technological landscape.
Interview with Jeff Detwiler - Most influential real estate leaders in North America
Jeff Detwiler is a protean real estate leader who along with guiding the strategic direction of Long & Foster, also oversees other enterprise functions like marketing, human resources, information services, and finance.
Industry Leaders Magazine: Since you began your career in real estate/financial services and currently serving as the president of Long & Foster Companies, how would you say has the real estate market evolved?
Jeff Detwiler: The real estate market has seen tremendous shifts in the 10 years that I’ve worked at The Long & Foster Companies.
As technology has simplified the process of shopping for a home, the role of the real estate agent has evolved. Today, a Realtor does so much more than simply show and sell properties. They serve as trusted advisors and pricing strategists, guiding their clients on how to maximize the return on their housing investments. They’re also practiced negotiators and contract experts, helping ensure their buyers and sellers are protected throughout what’s often the most expensive transaction in their lives. They guide their clients through every step of a property transaction, making sure it’s a seamless and convenient process for them.
The brokerage’s role in supporting its agents and their clients also has progressed over the years. The services and backing real estate firms now offer our associates are more expansive and sophisticated. At Long & Foster, for example, we became a part owner of MoxiWorks, a Seattle-based tech company, about five years ago. That move enabled us to continually provide our agents with the best and most innovative solutions to build their businesses.
The competitive landscape has also transformed in recent years. More and more brokerages are getting acquired by larger firms. As this consolidation continues, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for smaller and mid-sized firms to compete.
Industry Leaders Magazine: While more companies everyday are adopting various technologies to deliver their real-estate services, you are championing ‘personal-based services’. Your reasons for this?
Jeff Detwiler: We’re strong advocates for technology and innovation. They add value to our agents and enable them to deliver an even better customer experience.
Buying and selling a house has a ton of moving parts, and today, most consumers want convenience and ease of delivery. Meeting those expectations requires an exceptional level of personal service, supplemented and automated by technology. People want to do business with other people, especially those who have the backing of strong technology.
We recognize that and strategically invest in tech resources and align ourselves with innovative companies that help our associates in better supporting their clients.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What is the current trend in the real estate market? Which cities are attracting the most property buyers?
Jeff Detwiler: It’s the era of urbanization. Consumers are moving from rural areas and suburbs to the cities. They’re looking for walkability and downtown living—convenience to the places they work and play. It’s not just millennials either. Boomers, too, are headed to urban areas, often in search of one-level condo living.
As the urban movement has grown, the suburbs have seen a rise in the number of “town centers.” These mixed-use communities create a city-like experience, with residential, retail and commercial development in a single location. It brings the same convenience and quality of life that consumers are looking for, now in the suburbs.
Cities like Richmond and Raleigh—sometimes considered second-tier cities, are gaining in popularity amongst buyers. They offer more affordable housing, growing job opportunities and an urban lifestyle—often without as large of a population and congestion as the so-called first-tier cities.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What future milestones do you have in mind for Long & Foster?
Jeff Detwiler: We’re in the business of relationships and as such, we’re committed to creating customers for life. We do that by offering an all-inclusive experience, providing all the real estate services that a consumer might need through our family of real estate and financial services companies. Because of that, our associates and their clients have access to entities that provide mortgage, title, insurance, relocation and property management, among other real estate and financial services.
As we look toward the future, we’ll continually grow those offerings. Just this past spring, we opened Tailored Move, a residential moving and storage company, further streamlining the home-buying and selling process for our clients. Plus our all-inclusive approach is backed by unparalleled financial strength, as we are part of the Berkshire Hathaway affiliate HomeServices of America.
There are several criteria to be thought of while creating a list of most famous architects of our generation. But we have focused on the two thing that renders itself as the most pressing challenge faced by architects today – Space and sustainability.
Land is limited and the world’s population is growing. Infrastructure to suffice the needs of this growing population has to often deal with space constraints. Another pressing challenge is climate change.
As the infrastructure industry is one of the most polluting industries, reducing the menacing effects of infrastructure development is not just a challenge but a civic responsibility of architects today
In this interview we ask Gregory Kovacs, Design Director of Benoy and one of the famous architects of our time, about what makes a structure a great one in today’s age. He also helps us understand what a ‘green building’ actually means.
Famous Architects of our time - Interview with Gregory Kovacs
Architect Gregory Kovacs is the Design Director at Benoy. As an internationally exhibited architect-artist with over 15 years' experience in design, Gregory brings a fresh perspective to Benoy. His portfolio of work focuses mainly on large-scale mixed-use, heritage and masterplan projects across Asia, bringing his unique, worldwide expertise to all of his projects. In 2018, Gregory Kovacs was awarded the Perspective '40 under 40' designer award. He is also a winner of the prestigious RIBA Goldfinger Prize.
Singapore's re-imagined Holland Village, a low-rise urban village with integrated, usable public realm; and Ningbo MLP, China, a mixed-use development prominently located on the riverfront of the city, are some of the prominent designs included in Mr. Kovacs’ portfolio.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What aspects of your life before becoming an architect has shaped your design principles and style? What inspires your creation?
Gregory Kovacs: I am rather skeptical towards having a strong style or a rigid set of principles in architecture or in any other creative practice. I have lived and worked in very different parts of the world and the most important thing I have learned is that the things we see in everyday life can be taken in very different ways.
Many of our projects only open around 5 years after we start working on it and will be used for decades to come. In short, our work is always looking to the future. Principles, styles, rules of thumb are all grounded in the past. I believe that we should continue to question these assumptions in order to develop ideas that work best for every single project.
Each project has a unique set of challenges and constraints pertaining to site, community, and cultural, physical, political and economic context. Each project requires its own, unique solution to maximize the value for its owners and the users. The local culture is an essential source of inspiration - it grounds the project; makes it relevant and meaningful today and in the future. But the greatest inspiration is always the actual project itself; a project with a very difficult set of problems that requires a collaborative effort to solve. I am passionate about problem-solving from developing the brief through the later stages of finer adjustments.
Industry Leaders Magazine: You have a diverse portfolio of work, from interior design to massive structures; what do you love designing the most? Do you have a particular project that is closest to your heart?
Gregory Kovacs: As architects, we are incredibly lucky to have this level of variety in what we do. It is great being able to see a project evolve from designing the interiors to creating a large scale masterplan; from designing an airport to working on a heritage village. This variety allows for unexpected cross-fertilization of ideas among different typologies and scales.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What according to you are the aspects that make a structure a great one and why?
Gregory Kovacs: What we are increasingly seeing is that architects are contributing to a much broader range of problem-solving than ever before. Tackling problems that lie outside of the traditional scope of the architect. Architects have important experience in bringing together many stakeholders with a common vision that navigates conflicting requirements and interests. This skill will be incredibly sought after in the future as projects are becoming more complex.
Industry Leaders Magazine: What according to you does a ‘green building’ or a ‘sustainable building’ mean? What would you say is the future of architecture?
Gregory Kovacs: A great structure helps people find meaning in their day; creates opportunities for social exchange; reinforces the cohesion in communities. I am a passionate believer in brownfield developments - projects using existing buildings. These are some of the greenest buildings we have worked on recently. When it comes to sustainability, the real challenge is tackling all major aspects of sustainability: environmental; economic; social/cultural. None of these can be successful without the others.
It is said that architecture is the art we are living in. It is a representation of values, issues, development, culture, and way of life of every epoch. Since we are the generation who is witnessing the technological evolution first-hand, its only natural to see technology's influence to be exuded in architecture.
The most famous architects today are the ones who have accepted change. They have amalgamated the changing technological landscape with the heritage of the past and created a new trend of architecture that is perpetually of the 21st century.
Our history is nowhere better embodied than in architecture. It is a reflection of our culture, a connection to the times gone by, and an archive of our past. Whether we consider historic structures like the Notre Dame, the Acropolis, the Roman Colosseum or modern architectural wonders like the Louvre Pyramid, we’ll notice each building connecting us with an epoch, a way of life and the culture that prevailed.
And for this, architecture can never be static. It learns from its ancestors, evolves, takes new form and iterates the present. The modern structures we see today are also iterating our story. It is weaving together technology, industrial design, sustainability, and interior design to create structures that reflect the time we live in today and the forces that influence it, while also connecting our time with the future.
The famous architects of our time are the ones representing our generation with magnificent structures. And since we are the generation most compatible and dependent on technology, its presence in architecture will be our trademark.
Famous architects of our time - Interview with Ben Van Berkel
In this interview with Ben Van Berkel - one of the famous architects of our time, we talk about the evolution of architecture and the role of technology in it.
Architect Ben Van Berkel is the co-founder and director of UNStudio, an internationally acclaimed network of experts in architecture and urban development. He has delivered lectures at architecture colleges around the world. He currently holds the Kenzo Tange Visiting Professor's Chair at Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
He has designed, among others, the Erasmus Bridge in Rotterdam, the Moebius House in the Netherlands, the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany, Arnhem Central Station, and the Singapore University of Architecture and Design. Ben Van Berkel has several laurels to his name. To name a few, his list of awards include the prestigious Architektur & Wohnen Architect of the Year award and the BNA Kubus Award
Industry Leaders Magazine: You have recently launched UNSense – the arch-tech startup. How can technology and architecture work together to improve structures, cities, and life?
Ben Van Berkel: think that in general, in architecture and urban planning we actually still have to learn to fully understand the extent to which technology and design are completely mutually beneficial. Existing digital technologies already have a design direction; they necessarily have to be transformed into a user interface – be that via an app, a program, or the devices that such digital information needs to run on, such as a tablet or a phone. As spatial designers, our task is to recognize and apply design intention beyond what we understand as digital applications, devices and gadgets: to design spaces with data - which is actually the essence of what our sister company UNSense does.
I firmly believe that technology can and will improve how we live, work, move, and learn. Data technology, sensorial technology, artificial intelligence and augmented reality will enable us as architects and designers to create buildings that sense, understand and respond to the needs and behaviors of the people that work and live in them. Data- based insights into human behavior can be used as a foundation to continuously improve and equip the city according to the needs of its users. The combination of data and design can create a powerful force to improve living conditions for people, and to ultimately create buildings and cities that are more humane, healthy, clean, safe, sustainable, and beneficial to the environment. Much of this is connected to data and emerging technologies, but this also means that new models of data ownership will need to be introduced.
Industry Leaders Magazine: You have designed museums, universities, bridges and many other structures. What do you love designing the most and do you have a particular structure/project that is closest to your heart?
Ben Van: There isn’t actually one specific project that I have enjoyed working on the most, as often I like to work in a serial manner with designs. For me it is more fascinating to do combinatorial work, where ideas move from one project to another, developing and changing in the process. I don’t actually look back, but instead like to see where particular design concepts can go in the future. So my most satisfying design is always the one I am going to do next, because if I haven’t done it yet, it’s still full of creative potential.
Industry Leaders Magazine: How do you think architecture has evolved from when you started out and what you see today? How can architecture keep pace with the current technological changes?
Ben Van: Since we started out, which was 30 years ago now, the role of the architect has completely expanded, as have the networks within which we operate. Similarly, contexts have become more international and digital communication networks more expansive. Architects are no longer being trained to simply make buildings, but also to reflect on the way the world is changing – the culturally diverse milieu affecting the urban fabric of global cities, as well as the long-term impact the built world has on the environment. At UNStudio we no longer take the approach of defining a fixed role for the architect within a network, but instead focus on exactly what sort of knowledge we should be producing. This is why we describe ourselves as a knowledge-based practice.
In order to keep pace with technological change, we need to find new relevance by expanding the architect’s traditional skills. If we are to be in a position to shape the future, we need to invest in the exploration and production of knowledge, in order to enable a shift towards ever more performative, relevant and anthropocentric design.
This is also why we founded UNSense as a separate entity; because there are no resources within the traditional architectural practice for the integration or development of new technologies, different expertise is required and such a company has to operate with a business model that is quite different from the architecture business model.That said, the solutions developed within UNSense also enable our design studio to expand the architectural practice by incorporating technological innovation into our designs. “Data technology, sensorial technology, artificial intelligence and augmented reality will enable us as architects and designers to create buildings that sense, understand and respond to the needs and behaviors of the people that work and live in them.”
Industry Leaders Magazine: What do you think is an architect’s responsibility in creating sustainable cities? What elements do you or UNStudio keep in mind to take an integrated approach to sustainability?
Ben Van: Climate change, densification, and digitization are three of the most pressing and challenging global issues that we are currently facing; complex issues that not only ideally need to be tackled in a holistic way, but the solutions for which should also be sought across all scales. Architects, designers and urban planners need to work alongside innovative developers, city councils and teams of experts from different fields to find and test real life, integral solutions to current challenges in the built environment. We recently completed an urban plan for an innovative and experimental new neighborhood in the town of Helmond, in the Netherlands: the ‘Brainport Smart District’.
In this unique project, the objective is to actually build ‘The Smartest Neighborhood in the World’; a living laboratory with 1,500 homes and over 12 hectares of business park. This new neighborhood is planned with a view to integrally putting into action the latest insights and techniques in the areas of circularity, participation of (future) inhabitants, social cohesion and safety, health, data, new transport technologies and independent energy systems.
However, by partnering with industry leaders we are also in a position to design on a smaller scale; to supply the combination of a product mindset, engineering know-how and a strategic vision for building technologies that enable the development of new products that can be up-scaled for widespread use. For instance, at UNSense we recently launched a new bespoke, integrated photovoltaic cladding system (Solar Visuals) that will make it possible to harvest energy from every facade of a building, rather than just from traditional roof panels. Our research team at UNStudio also recently joined forces with Monopol Colors, the paint specialists from Switzerland, to develop ‘The Coolest White’, an ultra-durable paint with a Total Solar Reflectance value that sets entirely new standards. This new paint, more than any other, can protect buildings and urban structures from excessive solar radiation – thus slowing down the urban heat island effect.
The avocado prices have been surging since April of this year and as of July, the wholesale prices of avocados have increased by 129 percent.
On Thursday, the price of an avocado was $2.70 at supermarkets around the country. Senior analyst at Rabobank- David Magaña said, “This is the highest price for this time of the year in at least a decade probably more.” He notes that the wholesale price for a 25-pound box today is $84.25 while the cost around the same time last year was $37.
Why are avocado prices up?
Avocados imported from Mexico make up 75 to 80 percent of the total avocado consumption of the US. California accounts for 16 percent and the rest of the demand is met by Peru and Chile.
The US appetite for avocados has been on the rise since the early 2000s. According to the data by Hass Avocado Board, the consumption of Hass avocados which make up 95 percent of all avocados consumed in the US surged to a record high of 1.9 billion pounds in 2014, more than double the amount consumed in 2005.
Avocados which were once a treat meant for Cinco de Mayo or other once-in-a-year occasions have now found a place in almost all households and diner menus. Their nutritious elements became common knowledge and eventually, they became a popular toast topping and a staple breakfast delicacy for many.
As a big chunk of the US avocado consumption is met by Mexico, the high wholesale avocado prices are also attributed to the border issues. Coupled with this year’s low avocado production in California, the discrepancy between the demand and supply of avocados has intensified.
California's avocado season is coming to an end and was the smallest crop in more than a decade, David Magaña said.
He added, “These high prices have to do with seasonal production in Mexico,” Magaña said. “It’s normally the lowest at this time of the year.”
According to government data based on daily surveys in Mexico City’s Central de Abastos, the wholesale avocado prices of the Hass variety from Michoacan, the heartland of Hass avocados surged about 7 percent to a record high of 650 pesos for a 10-kilogram box in the last week of June.
Farmers and analysts expect the avocado prices to keep rising in the coming weeks.
The global beer market which is valued at $685,354 million by 2025 is to a great extent fueled by the increasing number of small craft breweries that are mushrooming every year. According to Brewers Association, in 2018, craft beer constituted to 13.2 percent of the total beer sales volume in the US.
But globally, the top five industry leaders in the beer industry- Anheuser-Busch InBev, Heineken, China Resources, Carlsberg, and Molson Coors; control half of the beer market. And while craft beer’s share is on the rise, it represents a small percentage in the global beer market.
Which is the largest beer market?
China is the largest beer market in the world with 27 percent, followed by the US (13%) and Brazil (7%). The recent global beer trend shows a declining beer consumption in traditionally large markets like Australia and Germany. The developing countries such as India (1%), Mexico (4%), and South Africa (2%) have taken their place.
Top five largest beer companies
Anheuser-Busch, with its sub-brands Bud Light and Budweiser, controls nearly 27 percent of the global beer market. Heineken with 10 percent share and China Resources with a 6.1 percent share are in the second and third position.
We mapped out the five largest beer companies in the world with their sub-brands to showcase how business is brewing in the world of beer.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI)
The largest beer company by market share and sales volume, ABI strengthened its leadership position by acquiring SABMiller in 2016. However, owing to competition regulations in China, it had to sell its sub-brand ‘Snow’ to its competitor China Resources. Snow is the most popular beer brand in China and the best-selling beer brand in the world. Despite losing Snow, ABI continues to maintain its position as an industry leader in the beer market with nearly $54.6 billion in yearly revenue.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is the parent company of several best-selling beer brands like Corona, Stella Artois, Beck’s, Hoegaarden, Bud Light, and Budweiser. Budweiser, considered to be the most popular beer brand in the world, is gearing up for the biggest IPO launch of 2019.
Heineken consolidated its stature as one of the largest beer companies in the world by acquiring stakes in United Breweries of India and CRH Beer of China. Tapping on the growing cannabis market, Heineken also launched a THC-infused beer in 2018 called Lagunitas.
As of 2017, this Dutch beer company owns 165 breweries in over 70 countries and produces 250 beer labels. These beer labels include Tecate, Amstel, and Tiger Beer, among others.
China Resources Snow Breweries
China Resources Snow Breweries, a beverage arm of China Resources, is known for its ‘Snow’ beer. Snow beer with 20 percent market share in the Chinese market is the largest beer brand in China. Snow beer overtook Bud Light in 2009 as the world’s best-selling beer brand by volume. China Resources sold as estimated 101 million hectoliters of Snow in 2017. In comparison, Budweiser which is currently on the second position of the best-selling beer brands sold just 49.2 million hectoliters.
This beer brand, though a ubiquitous name in China for its mass production and cheap price, is not very well-known in other countries. Other labels included in China Resources beer portfolio are Blue Sword, Green Leaves, Huadan, Huadan Yate, Largo, Löwen, and a few more.
Carlsberg, third in the top five list of largest beer companies has nearly 500 beer labels in its belt. Though the green bottle with Carlsberg’s flagship lager is the most well-known, many other popular beer brands in the US and Europe are owned by Carlsberg. These include Tuborg, Somersby cider, SKOL, and Baltika - the most popular beer brand in Russia. Carlsberg commands a 5.9 percent share in the global beer market.
Molson Coors Brewing
Coors merged with Molson in 2005 to create Molson Coors Brewing Company, the world’s fifth largest beer company. Later Molson Coors entered into a joint venture with long time competitor SABMiller and created MillerCoors. Today, MillerCoors is the second largest brewing company in the US after Anheuser-Busch. Popular beer brands in MillerCoors portfolio include Miller, Coors, Lech, and Blue Moon. This brewing company has a 4.9 percent share in the global beer market.
From private beaches, on-call massages, and butler service to panoramic views of cityscapes or landscapes, the most expensive hotels in the world spoil its guests with genteel pampering.
But the royal experience also comes at a royally high price, sometimes as high as $103K per night!
Read on to know what the most expensive hotel suites in the world look like and cost.
Some of the hotels included in this list of most expensive hotels offer its guest amenities fit for kings and queens. Some have a locational advantage and others cost exuberant charges because of its history. Either way, read on to embark on a virtual adventure through some of the most luxurious hotels in the world.
The Mark, New York
Hailed as one of the most expensive hotel suites in America and the world, the five-bedroom terrace suite in The Mark is class apart. This is the same suite where the Duchess of Sussex had her baby shower. Costing nearly $75K per night, the suite has a lounge area spacious enough to double as a ballroom. The suite has a personal library, five bedrooms, a steam room, a grand piano, and a rooftop terrace. Distinguished guests like the Duchess have the option to have their meals prepared by renowned chef Jean-Georges.
Hotel President Wilson, Geneva
Located on the banks of the Lake Geneva is this stunning hotel, often deemed as one of the most expensive hotels in the world. The Royal Penthouse Suite at the Hotel President Wilson is the largest suite in Europe. At $103K per night, the suite is complete with a billiard table, a rare book collection, a personal elevator that takes its guests directly to the main hotel lounge, and a Jacuzzi overlooking the pristine lake. The suite, along with being luxurious is also protected with state-of-the-art security system replete with bulletproof windows, cameras, and a panic button.
Laucala Island Resort, Fiji
A private oasis on the green hills of the Laucala Island, the Laucala Island Resort is a collection of villas costing nearly $45K for a night’s stay. The villas are surrounded by verdant greenery, picturesque views of the hills, turquoise lagoons, and sandy beaches. Guests get their own personal chauffeur, chef, and a butler. Other than the beauty of the property and its surroundings, this resort is one of the most expensive hotels in the world because of the myriad activities it offers its guests. Horse-riding, golf, water sports - this private villa has it all.
Grand Hyatt Martinez, Cannes
The Grand Hyatt Cannes has a rich history of hosting many international celebrities who visit the beautiful French Rivera during the film festival. Ornate with the art deco style, all rooms feature French windows overlooking the Bay of Cannes. The prettiest and one of the most expensive hotel suites in the world is the Pent Suite at Grand Hyatt Martinez. The suite has its own garden and decorating the suites’ wall are original pieces of Picasso and Matisse. As one of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the cost per night for staying at this French beauty is $53K.
Raj Palace Hotel, Jaipur
Spread across 16000 square feet, the Maharaja Pavillion at the Raj Palace hotel is a four floor apartment with its own private entrance. The hotel is a visual representation of India’s rich culture, heritage, and hospitality. The suite has its own private rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, butler service, and spa. The cost per night, which is around $85K is justified with the opulence of this magnificent structure. The suite is gilded with rich ivory and gold furniture and offers a truly royal experience to its guests.
Zenith’s Advertising Expenditure Forecast reveals that internet advertising will account for 52 percent of the global ad spending in 2021 – a 5 percent increase from the 47 percent share of online advertising this year.
However, the forecast points out that this increase is happening at a diminishing rate. For the first quarter of 2019, the global internet ad spend grew by 12 percent as compared to a 17 percent growth in 2018. According to Zenith, the internet ad market can see even slower growth in the coming future.
The report attributes the declining growth to maturity of the digital market and the discrepancy between the ad spending of small and big firms.
Majority of the growth is stemming out of small scale spending by small and local businesses. The report points out that small businesses majorly focus on digital advertising while big firms focus more on traditional media.
“The categories that have advanced the furthest in using modern digital channels are technology, media, finance and professional services,” says Matt James, Zenith’s global brand president. “And even within these, brands still rely on traditional media to create broad mass awareness and reinforce brand values.”
The growth of online advertising is led by social media and videos which are benefiting from improved smartphone technology, internet speed, and ad targeting. The fastest growing channel is video which now represents 8 percent of the total digital ad market.
Paid search’s growth rate, which was 37 percent in 2018, is forecasted to fall to 7 percent in 2021. Online classified advertising’s growth rate is expected to decline to 1.6 percent globally from 9 percent by 2021.
Small businesses are the major contributors to global ad spending as they spend most of their advertising budget on digital advertising. In comparison, the big businesses designated half of their advertising budget on internet ads.
The internet ad spending will see a decline in all major markets. In Australia particularly, the growth will see a sharp decline from 12 percent to 3 percent over the next two years. The Australian internet ad market crossed the 50 percent threshold in 2017 and as Elizabeth Baker – Zenith’s Sydney head of investment notes, it is ahead of the global market.
“Australia is ahead of curve in relation to the digital share of ad spend,” says Elizabeth Baker. “Achieving the 50% level back in 2017, and will edge closer to the 60% share level over the next few years.”