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Hospitality ‘struggling to fill thousands of jobs’

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Hospitality venues are struggling to fill thousands of job vacancies, according to an industry body.

Waiting staff and chefs are in particular demand as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease, UK Hospitality said.

It called on the government to stick to its plan to lift all Covid restrictions in England on 21 June.

The government said it was “doing everything we can to support hospitality”.

The sector has been has been hit hard by the pandemic, and is also facing shortages due to Brexit, the trade body said. But even before those restrictions lifted, hospitality venues were struggling to find staff.

UK Hospitality said there was currently a shortfall of about 188,000 workers, with the shortage of front-of-house staff and chefs being “particularly acute”.

Under the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, all coronavirus restrictions in England could be lifted on 21 June. But in recent days ministers, including Boris Johnson, have warned that could be delayed by an increase in the number of cases of the Indian variant.

“The government must restore confidence in the hospitality sector so that it is again seen as a stable employer and provider of fulfilling careers,” said Kate Nicholls, the chief executive of UK Hospitality.

“To facilitate this, it must stick to the re-opening roadmap, lifting all restrictions from 21 June. This will restore consumer confidence and give a strong signal to workers that hospitality will bounce back strongly.”

Many hospitality businesses have struggled during the pandemic despite extensive government support, including rates holidays and the furlough scheme.

Many hospitality staff have been laid off during the pandemic. -BBC



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LOLC becomes Mastercard’s first customer in Sri Lanka to join its Digital First programme

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iPay, a unique payment aggregator introduced by LOLC – Sri Lanka’s most valuable and globally diversified financial conglomerate has become the first entity in Sri Lanka to sign up for the Digital First program, launched by Mastercard. The Digital First program was initiated to facilitate an end-to-end digital journey benefiting Cardholders, Merchants and Financial Institutions. It was introduced to meet the rising demand for convenient and secure transactions around the world.

Mastercard’s Digital First program maximizes the safety, security and convenience of e-commerce, online banking and contactless transactions by providing the guidelines for payment processors, fintechs (Financial Technology), issuing banks and other partners to create end-to-end digital payment options at scale. Through this digital enablement, iPay offers a host of features including instant gratification for users through streamlined card issuance, activation and payments whilst offering them better rewards. User choice is a key priority of the Mastercard Digital First program as users are offered the choice to pay with any bank’s account or card that they prefer. They are also able to pay anywhere, anytime by leveraging Mastercard’s existing global acceptance, for both card and account based payments. Furthermore, safety and security are ensured to the utmost using security tools to protect users throughout all online and offline transactions. In addition, the controls system enables them to monitor spends, along with alerts on usage, allowing them to manage their spends threshold.

Commenting about iPay’s latest initiative, Conrad Dias, Director/Chief Executive Officer of LOLC Finance PLC said, “iPay is currently on a rapid transformation drive and the Mastercard Digital First program supplements that effort. In Sri Lanka, iPay has garnered over 100,000 users and it allows a wide range of financial transactions. Today, the app has also been successfully launched in Cambodia with implementation plans already in place for Myanmar, Pakistan and Indonesia. Since iPay is expanding internationally, getting on board with the Mastercard Digital First program will further enable our customers and merchants not only here in Sri Lanka but even in the overseas markets in which we operate to avail themselves of a new world of convenience.”

“Mastercard congratulates LOLC on its iPay digital payment platform joining the Digital First Program, thereby bringing about unparalleled convenience to users. Even as LOLC looks to introduce iPay to even more countries, Mastercard is very happy to support them with their growth plans for iPay in the region,” said Rajesh Mani, Country Manager, Sri Lanka & Maldives, Mastercard.

“iPay is the market leader in Sri Lanka in terms of customer acquisition and transaction volumes. We see the app growing further as contactless transactions and digital banking is increasing in popularity. By joining the Mastercard Digital First program, we hope to offer a best in class experience to all our customers and merchants,” said Charitha Jayasingha, Head of iPay.

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OPPO marks its 17th anniversary

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Global leader in smartphones & devices OPPO marked its 17th anniversary on September 17. Over the past decade, OPPO has graduated from its position as a smartphone manufacturer to an innovator and trailblazer in the smart device domain with several contributions to its merit. The company continues to expand its global footprint through its offering of high quality, aesthetically designed tech products and services to partners & users.

Commenting on the milestone, CEO of OPPO Sri Lanka Bob Li said: “On the occasion of OPPO completing 17 years of business operations, I would like to extend a sincere ‘thank you’ to all Sri Lankan customers, fans & well-wishers. It is your enthusiasm that has fuelled our passion to innovate. Our goal is to ensure that we continue to make global technology accessible to you locally for affordable prices without compromising on quality.” OPPO has expanded to over 50 countries and territories over the years catering to diverse interests with its impressive offering of smartphones & devices. This year, OPPO experienced a series of breakthroughs across frontier technologies of 5G, imaging and VOOC Flash Charging. OPPO hosted a flash charging partner conference at the 2021 Mobile World Congress in Shanghai (MWCS) showcasing a host of innovations in device charging, 5G connectivity and smart technology.

2021 also saw OPPO’s Flash Initiative bringing together a host of innovators from several sectors such as leaders in automotive (FAW-Volkswagen), portable chargers (Anker), and chip manufacturing (NXP Semiconductors), with each company licensing OPPO patented designs.

OPPO introduced its newly generated AR application CybeReal which elevates Augmented Reality to the next level through spatial computing. This year OPPO also hosted the 2021 OPPO Future Imaging Technology Launch Event where a series of breakthroughs in smartphone imaging technology focused on upgrades to sensors, modules, and algorithms were unveiled.

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Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing launches SLIM DIGIS 2.1

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Sri Lanka Institute of Marketing (SLIM), the national body for marketing in Sri Lanka, recently launched SLIM DIGIS 2.1, the country’s most awaited digital awards ceremony in a virtual press conference held on the 16th of September 2021.

Held for the third consecutive year, SLIM DIGIS is the only dedicated awards event that recognizes the innovations, budding talents and provides due recognition to professionals of the Digital Marketing sector. The awards event recognizes the best Digital Marketing achievements across multiple sectors including Banking & Finance, Insurance, Telecommunication, IT & Internet, Leisure & Hospitality and Travel & Tourism.

Similar to the previous year, DIGIS 2.1 will feature the main awards and special awards categories. This year will also see the inauguration of two new special awards: the ‘Best Response to COVID-19’ category will recognize the best Digital Marketing initiatives which turned challenges faced in the new normal into opportunities by engaging customers and thereby leveraging the business trajectory. The ‘Best Use of Data’ category will focus on recognizing the best-in-class digital campaigns driven or enhanced by data, and will be open to any idea that has used data in a meaningful way to craft creative marketing mix integrations into the core of their campaigns. While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hinder businesses around the world, the new award additions will add further value to recognizing the efforts taken by Digital Marketing professionals to stay ahead of the curve.

Commenting on the SLIM DIGIS 2.1, Thilanka Abeywardena – President of SLIM said, “We are indeed proud to launch our premier Digital Marketing awards ceremony for the third year running. We were thrilled to see the number of entries received during the last year’s event despite the challenges faced in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. Being the only awards ceremony dedicated to the Digital Marketing fraternity, we want the Digital Marketing professionals and companies to make this rare opportunity count. At this crucial and challenging point in time, it is of utmost importance that Digital marketers produce their best work in order to ensure business continuity. Since its inception, SLIM DIGIS has been fueling the Digital Marketing industry while providing a platform for the due recognition of the industry’s best achievements.”

The winners of SLIM DIGIS 2.1 will be awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze awards and the Grand Prix will be awarded to the enterprise/company, which achieves the highest score in both the main awards and special awards categories. SLIM DIGIS 2.1 will host an independent judging panel which consists of esteemed industry professionals.

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