Institute News Main Headline

IFT Global Centre hosts tourism training programme for participants from Portuguese-speaking countries

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training organised in November a training programme on sustainable tourism development and destination marketing, planned for participants from Portuguese-speaking countries. The course was held in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Participants came from, respectively, Angola, Cabo Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe and Timor-Leste. Representatives from Cambodia, China’s Greater Bay Area – including the Macao SAR – and UNWTO also joined the programme, bringing the total number of participants to 22.

The 8-day training course on “Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism Development and Destination Marketing” included lectures, case studies, experience-sharing sessions, presentations and site visits. Participants also met with the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Dr. Alexis Tam.

This programme was the sixth of its kind held by the Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training. Whereas the last few courses focused primarily on destination marketing, this time the spotlight was on “responsible tourism”, in order to meet specific needs of participants, says the Centre’s Director, IFT Visiting Professor Dr. John Ap.

“Most of the participants came from Portuguese-speaking countries and we know planning and development are key issues for these nations,” explains Dr. Ap. “One of the more common misconceptions, namely among governments and business people, is that ‘more is better’: for them, the perception is that more people mean more business.”

The tide of opinion on that point seems to be turning, according to some participants in the programme. Mr. Humberto Lélis, Secretary-General of the Chamber of Tourism of Cabo Verde, agrees the African country is dependent on tourism. Cabo Verde is mostly known for its beaches and sunshine, but Mr Lélis believes the archipelago can learn from Macao’s best practices as an example of “the importance that must be given to the historical and cultural side of tourism”.

Macao’s focus on preserving and promoting its heritage is also highlighted by course participant Ms. Mirian Daio. The Director-General of Tourism and Hospitality at São Tomé and Príncipe’s Ministry of Finance, Trade, and Blue Economy says the focus of the IFT programme on sustainability was useful for her, as São Tomé and Príncipe’s main tourism attraction is its UNESCO-listed biosphere reserve on the island of Príncipe. Sustainable tourism “is the right path to ensure that coming generations can also have access to the resources we are now enjoying,” says the official.

The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training was officially set up in 2016 following a memorandum of understanding signed between the Macao SAR Government and UNWTO, on tourism education and training cooperation. Under the agreement, the Centre organises international training and education programmes, as well as other projects, in collaboration with UNWTO. The scheme aims to help participating tourism officials and industry professionals to enhance their knowledge and skills.

The original memorandum of understanding was scheduled to lapse at the end of 2018. An extension has been agreed for an additional 12-month period, and there is the possibility of further renewal after that.

IFT is “one of the top tourism and hospitality schools in the world” and an important partner for UNWTO, says the organisation’s Deputy Director for Africa, Mr. Jaime Mayaki.

“I’m sure the participants can take away extremely valuable lessons and tools on how to better promote their tourism sectors” from these programmes, says Mr. Mayaki. He was also a participant on the November training course.