Natural phenomena – added value of the tourism sector

first_imgTonight is one of the most beautiful celestial “events” of the year. It is, of course, the rain of Perseids, better known as the Tears of St. Lawrence. What exactly is it about?In the orbit of comet Swift-Tuttle, there is a cloud of debris composed of particles that emit the said comet in its 133-year orbit. Most of the debris in the cloud floats for about a thousand years, while there is also a relatively young layer of stardust formed in 1865 that allows night sky observers to witness indications of the phenomenon the day before the peak of the rain. Meteor rain has actually been visible since mid-July with the peak of activity between 9 and 14 August. During the peak, observers can witness a spectacle of 60 or more meteors per hour that can be observed from all over the world despite the fact that at this time of year the constellation Perseids is located in the northern hemisphere.It smells like a good bait for tourists, but also other lovers of celestial phenomena and the starry sky. What’s the story behind the meteor shower?Among the Croatian population, the name Suze sv. Lawrence. Lovro was one of the seven deacons of ancient Rome, and also a victim of the great persecution of Christians in 258 under the baton of no more and no less than the native Cibala Valerian. Where did the connection with the Perseids come from? The memorial of the saint’s martyrdom is traditionally from 258 BC. marks on the date of the 10th of August. Taken aback by the unusual celestial phenomenon and during the unstoppable process of Christianization, Catholics explain the meteor shower as the saint’s tears for which the earth, precisely because the place of his martyrdom and murder, is unworthy of falling on it. Logical. Except of course that one time a year.From infancy to the present day, religion has been the standard-bearer of actually good tourist stories because in its effort to explain the world, it has nurtured a tendency toward trivialization and a spectacle that can ultimately be packaged into a concrete product. Let’s just remember St. John’s bonfires and the longest night of the year.Also, another legend about Tears comes from the Mediterranean area which means it doesn’t bypass us again. Namely, as the saint was allegedly burned alive at the stake, by pure analogy these shooting stars then became sparks of the mentioned fire, but the story goes a step further and warns that after the night from the 9th to the 10th of August, a chilled fire can be found. on the ground under the plants.As there was a speech on the occasion of the feast of St. John and traditional St. John’s bonfires, this phenomenon can be capitalized on. In addition, it benefits from the fact that it happens regularly at the same time every year. However, it is completely free and can be seen literally from everywhere so at this point we can find the origin of the lack of initiative. But it’s not all in the money and we shouldn’t look at everything through numbers. It is true that certain locations, due to their exclusivity and uniqueness, can afford to pick up the cream from the mentioned phenomenon, but in order for that to happen, first of all, efforts must be made to map the space as exclusive.However, what we want to emphasize with this is not the financial benefit or the relative possibility of the same, but the immeasurable benefit from the marketing potential of the meteor shower.Fortunately, we are a tourist destination, our “sun and sea” are attracting enormous masses of people from all over Europe, but also from the rest of the world. Croatia fascinates and has an audience – an audience eager for content, something newer and fresh. Let’s suggest the following, the Croatian National Tourist Board starts shooting another promotional video, only this time – in addition to the beauties advertised by footballers, it proposes a selection of the most beautiful natural and untouched locations with excellent predispositions for watching parachutes. Then let’s think a little about the impact of such a promotional message on the average tourist and step up broadcasting times three, as can be done with much more banal things. And all this under the slogan – let’s investigate unexplored or similar.Once again, we have an example of an event with a far-reaching cultural-historical tradition and tourism potential which, although it cannot be viewed through the prism of financial gain, can certainly give a large share in the added value of the domestic tourism sector. And once again we have everything served on a platter: a natural phenomenon (meaning we can concentrate on attracting an audience at the start), a good story (for everyone: sky watchers, religious tourism stakeholders, adventurers, travelers…) and a record tourist season (meaning that Croatia is overloaded with various people).Instead of convincing us of the reasons why to use something, it might be better to answer the question – and why not? What are the concrete and well-founded reasons for the further lack of initiative ??last_img read more

Alumna uses experience with cancer to help others

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Thuy Thanh TruongAs she chuckled at the irony of the situation, Thuy Thanh Truong confessed her shock when she received the news in September of last year.“I was like, what? How is that even possible? The person who goes to the gym every single day and doesn’t even smoke,” Truong said.She initially went to the doctor for back pain and had planned a meeting later that day. Even after the diagnosis, she had no intention of missing it. After she presented, they spoke about moving forward with the project, but she trailed off, contemplating what she had just heard from her doctor: Stage 4 lung cancer.Born in Vietnam, Truong immigrated to the United States in 2003 with her parents to pursue her education. After graduating from USC in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, she moved back to Vietnam against her parents’ wishes to continue her career as an entrepreneur. Now at 32, she’s already been deemed “Vietnam’s startup queen” by BBC and featured in Forbes Vietnam’s “30 under 30” list.On the day of her diagnosis, Truong recalls speaking to her cousin, a surgeon.“He said, ‘If you’re going to stay in Vietnam, you’re going to go for more procedures here,” Truong said. She recalls how she replied decisively, “No, let me go back to the U.S.” Two weeks later she was at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center in Los Angeles beginning her treatment.“You just want to be at a place where you feel at home, and USC Norris feels like my home,” Truong said. During her undergraduate career at USC, Truong founded Hackathon at the University of Science at Vietnam National University, an event for tech students to network and show off their app-building skills. After graduation, she went back to Vietnam and immersed herself in various business ventures to hone her entrepreneurship experience.  Today, Truong continues to formulate dynamic enterprises which make an impact while she undergoes treatment for lung cancer. She and Peter Kuhn, a USC professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, developed an initiative for another Hackathon, Hack for Health,  this time with cancer resources in mind. She credits her motivation for the event to the uncertainty of what the future held.“I used to spend two years developing an app, but I don’t know how much time I have left, so instead of developing 20 apps in two years, I’ll develop 10 apps in two minutes,” Truong said.Truong is also working with a team of volunteers for her recent non-profit program, Salt Cancer Initiative, designed to bring support to cancer patients in Vietnam. The lightbulb for SCI went off while she was taking a yoga class during her treatment at USC Norris. “When I first got diagnosed, I went to the class every week and got inspired by the teacher and the class,” Truong said. “I thought, I wish that they had a class like that for cancer patients in Vietnam.”Today 100 SCI volunteers host monthly meet-ups throughout Vietnam for patients, weekly yoga classes at upscale fitness clubs and coloring, singing and drawing activities for children battling the disease in hospitals — each owned or organized by USC alumni.With the average salary in Vietnam less than $2,000 annually, the membership fee to the fitness club where SCI hosts yoga classes for patients is higher than what most people can afford. Truong said she chose this club in particular not only because it was owned by a USC alum, but also because of its state-of-the-art facilities.  “It’s something very few people in Vietnam have experienced before,” Truong said. “Because they have cancer, we don’t know how much time they have left. They could have three months left, six months left, three years left. It doesn’t matter — I want them to experience something they’ve never experienced before.”Truong’s roots are strong in Vietnam; after graduation, she returned to start her first company, a frozen yogurt shop. The shop lasted three years and expanded to five stores, but Truong eventually shut down the company, citing lack of experience. Truong didn’t, however, let her first unsuccessful business run slow her down, and quickly switched gears to her next venture.In 2013, she and a former classmate from USC developed GreenGar, a mobile application and development team that created the popular application Whiteboard, allowing users to work collaboratively from various devices.GreenGar became the first company in Vietnam to be accepted to the 500 Startup Accelerated Program in Silicon Valley, but after a year of not being able to fundraise and scale up the business, Truong went back to the drawing board to start her third company, Tappy, a social messaging app.Tappy quickly rose to success when it was bought by Weeby.co, a cloud-based game building software in Mountain View, Calif., for a seven-figure sum. Truong stayed involved with the company for more than a year before she became restless for yet another new experience. She decided to leave for a two-month solo road trip across the U.S., from California to New York, visiting national and state parks. It was after the cross-country trip that Truong received her lung cancer diagnosis. Truong is currently undergoing treatment for a target drug she qualified for after DNA testing at USC. If the drug is not effective, she will soon begin chemotherapy.“I have the Trojan Family who support me in everything I do,” Truong said. “It’s a real family. Once you’re a Trojan, you’re Trojan for life.”When discussing the fight ahead of her, Truong references the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who accomplished debatably his most esteemed work while being treated for cancer before his death.“There are a few things that the world wants to have before they take me away,” Truong said. “I don’t know what it is yet, but I hope for the best.”last_img read more

Three more banks develop functions to block gambling transactions

first_img StumbleUpon GambleAware data finds stigma to be key barrier to treatment for women July 16, 2020 Share Related Articles GambleAware: Engage those with lived experience of gambling harms August 28, 2020 Marc Etches to step down as CEO of GambleAware in 2021 August 14, 2020 Submit Share Three more UK high-street banks have announced plans to allow customers to control and block particular payments via mobile applications, following Barclays’ lead.Lloyds, Santander, and RBS have approved proposals to develop payment-blocking functions that are set to affect transactions made in high street bookmakers and online betting sites and provide greater protections to those who have an issue with compulsive gambling.The move comes after Barclays announced back in December a plan to integrate a ‘gambling block’ component across its customer-facing digital platforms.The trio will update mobile banking apps in order to ensure customers are able to take control over when and where money can be spent. RBS, which currently has approximately 30 million customers, announced that it would be implementing similar measures to those issued by Barclays late last year. Barclays’ gambling-block feature allows customers to turn off engagements with all gambling-related properties, as well as blocking payments in four additional categories: food and drink; petrol stations; groceries and supermarkets; and premium websites and phone lines. Customers will also be able to implement controls that are specifically designed to limit withdrawals from ATMs, as well as credit card purchases both in-store and online. Santander and Lloyds are also due to implement similar controls for the 14 million and 22 million customers respectively. A spokesman for Lloyds commented: “Throughout 2019 we will be enhancing our customer communications so customers are informed and alerted to their gambling spend, as well as introducing tools to improve self-service options such as gambling restrictions.“New card controls give customers more control over debit card transactions for extra peace of mind.”Following Barclays’ announcement to develop blocking functions late last year, Marc Etches, chief executive of GambleAware, welcomed the initiative: “There are 340,000 problem gamblers in Britain and a further 1.7 million at risk, and initiatives like this can play an important role in helping to reduce gambling-related harms.“There are no limits to stakes and prizes for online gambling, and credit cards are allowed so it is important to make it easier for people to control their spending.”While the move comes as a positive step towards tackling compulsive behaviours, responsible gambling advocates are continuing to campaign for a significantly longer ‘cooling off’ period between deactivating a payment block and the ability to complete transactions.last_img read more