The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training organised in May an 8-day training programme on sustainable tourism planning and destination management. The participants were from destinations across Asia. The course was held in Macao in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The programme featured a total of 19 participants, each of them coming from either a country or place covered by the Belt and Road Initiative, namely the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, and China’s Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, including Macao.
The training course – held from 15 to 22 May – featured lectures, presentations and site visits, under the supervision of scholars from IFT and invited experts.
The Centre’s Director, IFT Visiting Professor Dr. John Ap, says one of the topics addressed during the programme was ‘over tourism’. It is currently a popular topic in many major international destinations, with regard to promotion of sustainable tourism. “When we look at tourism capacity, we are trying to see what we can do to manage the city or destination from a marketing perspective to ensure there is an appropriate level of sustainability,” he explains.
Dr. Ap says an important part of the course was the site visits around Macao arranged for the participants. Those visits covered several Macao tourist and heritage attractions. The programme also featured a tour of the MGM Cotai integrated resort. That visit focused on its practices in relation to promoting environmental sustainability.
The visits were “useful exercises because one of the key things in tourism and hospitality is that we are in the business of delivering memorable and incredible experiences,” says Dr. Ap.
Dr. Li Guang Ming, Dean and Professor at the Shenzhen Tourism College of Jinan University, was one of the programme participants. He says the course was “a good demonstration of Macao’s role as a tourism training platform” for the Greater Bay Area.
Dr. Li says the course presented participants with ideas – via a variety of topics discussed by a number of scholars – about an integrated approach to sustainable tourism planning and destination management. It was a “fruitful” initiative, he says.
Ms. Tracy Lam Choi Kei, Senior Executive at the Macao Government Tourism Office, was also a participant on the programme. She says Macao has a unique approach to tourism, with a strong emphasis on cultural heritage. Macao already has a “different tourism positioning” relative to some other places, and through the IFT Global Centre programme, Macao can “act as an example to participants” from other destinations, she says.
The training programme was the seventh of its kind co-organised by the Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training and UNWTO.
The Centre was set up in 2016 following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Macao SAR Government and UNWTO. The agreement covered topics including the enhancement of human capital for the tourism industry and the promotion of sustainable tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.
Since the inception of the Centre, close to 160 participants from more than 20 countries and regions have been involved in such courses.
The Centre is part of IFT’s efforts to strengthen its position as an international hub for tourism education and training. It provides training and education courses in cooperation with UNWTO and other parties, to help participating tourism officials and professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills.
The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training and UNWTO are scheduled to host a new training programme between late November and early December.