Spotlight: With creativity, self-reliance, businesses worldwide seek opportunities in COVID-19 pandemic – Xinhua

BEIJING, May 22 (Xinhua) — While the coronavirus pandemic has dealt a severe blow to global economy and trade, many businesses across the world are seeking new opportunities to survive the crisis with creativity, self-reliance and adjustments to local conditions.

At the restaurant Cozy in Vilnius, Lithuania, mannequins dressed in fashion pieces of local designers and brands from 19 boutiques have been placed to fill the space between dining tables.

At each table, customers can find information about the exhibited items and where each piece can be purchased.

This is part of an initiative launched by a few dozen restaurants and cafes in Vilnius Old Town, which allows restaurants to maintain the required indoor social distancing and meanwhile helps designers gain customers’ attention, said Go Vilnius, the official development agency of Vilnius.

“Empty tables inside our restaurant look rather odd, and we don’t have any way to remove them,” said Bernie Ter Braak, owner of Cozy, who proposed the idea with a local fashion designer.

“Therefore, we decided to reach out to our neighbors and fashion boutique stores, and invited them to use our empty tables to showcase their newest collections,” the restaurant owner said.

In Zambia, producing and selling masks have compensated for the downturn in the main businesses of both tailors and street vendors.

Street vendor Robert Musonda based in Lusaka, who sells ladies clothes and footwear, said the coronavirus pandemic has adversely affected many small-scale traders like him.

“When I noticed that my sales were going down and the demand for face masks was rising, I decided to approach a friend of mine who is a tailor to make face masks of different kinds and for different income groups,” he said. “Selling face masks has helped me to stay afloat. I think it is always important to diversify and look at other income-generating opportunities.”

In Namibia, some young people have turned to entrepreneurship as COVID-19 shutdowns have increased job losses.

T-shirt, jacket and other clothing printing for resale to larger companies has been the bulk of business for Fillemon Shuuya under his own brand Feelingz Nation, which has helped him navigate the difficult time of the coronavirus outbreak.

The statistics graduate from the University of Namibia, aged 25, who came to the capital of Windhoek from the small northern town of Ondangwa, said he turned to the clothing industry partly because he could not find a full-time job.

Rwandan coffee farmers have discovered an efficient way to sell their products in the pandemic — through livestreaming promotion in countries where e-commerce is popular, such as China.

On Thursday, 3,000 bags of coffee beans from Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company were sold out in a second on an online promotion via livestreaming after Wei Ya, an internet hipster in China, announced the start of auctioning to over 10 million viewers.

“It was very impressive seeing about one and half tons sold in a second, it is amazing,” coffee farmer Ernest Nshimiyimana recalled the experience when watching the promotion on T-Mall, an online shopping platform of China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Due to the pandemic, countries across the world have imposed anti-virus restrictions, and the shipping cost of cargo flights has sharply increased, said Rwanda Farmers Coffee Company’s managing director David Ngarambe.

“Being able to market coffee to millions of customers via live streaming removes the barrier between a farmer and end customers,” said Nshimiyimana, the coffee farmer.

To promote tourism in Britain, the English Tourism Week — an annual celebration of the tourism industry dedicated to showcasing England’s tourism offer — is also going virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event, scheduled for May 25-31, is dedicated to “showing support for the industry, the millions of people who work in it and the hundreds of thousands of businesses impacted,” said Andrew Stokes, director of England’s official tourism agency VisitEngland.

As part of the celebration, VisitEngland is asking Members of Parliament to share photos and social media posts from their favorite English holiday destinations, as well as to record video messages for use on social media platforms.

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