Institute News Main Headline

IFT provides training to Asian officials on destination marketing

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training organised in May a training programme on destination marketing and tourism development for representatives from several countries, places and entities. The course was held in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

A total of 20 representatives from Myanmar, Pakistan, Mainland China, the Macao SAR and UNWTO joined the programme.

The 8-day training course on “Capacity Building for Destination Marketing and Tourism Development” 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 Government, Dr. Alexis Tam.

According to the Centre’s Director, IFT Visiting Professor Dr. John Ap, the programme allowed the sharing with participants of up-to-date information on the latest tourism marketing and tourism planning trends.

“We gave them access to up-to-date techniques and strategies on what is happening in destination marketing, because most of our participants come from developing countries,” Dr. Ap says.

Programme participant Mr. Nanda Soe Myint, Assistant Director at the Directorate of Hotels and Tourism from Myanmar’s Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, says his country is “heading towards sustainable tourism development” and can learn from Macao how successfully to promote itself abroad.

Myanmar is seeking to promote its cultural heritage, including the Chin Tsong Palace in Rangoon, and the historic area of the city of Mandalay. “We can earn not only money from foreign visitors but also generate lots of job opportunities [from tourism],” says Mr. Nanda.

Another course participant was Mr. Arshad Ali, a tourism officer at the Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation. He describes his learning experience in Macao as “very fruitful”, as his country is looking to develop different tourism segments.

Participant Ms. Sunny Cai Qinghong, Vice Section Chief of International Exchange and Cooperation at the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration, says the Mainland province – which neighbours Macao – can learn from the Macao tourism industry’s attention to detail, namely when it comes to service delivery. “This kind of pleasant experience will bring tourists back again,” she says.

The training programme was the fifth of its kind held by the Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training. The Centre was officially 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.

The Centre provides training and education programmes in cooperation with UNWTO, and takes part in joint tourism research projects. Its aim is to help improve the capabilities of tourism officials from countries and places with developing economies.

The main goal, says Centre Director Dr. Ap, is to promote concepts related to sustainable and responsible tourism, “to ensure we are looking after not only the physical environment of the attraction but also looking after the interests of the host community”. He says the majority of course participants so far “are very conscious” of the importance of attracting “quality tourists with high spending power” instead of settling for “mass tourism with a quite low yield”.

“You need to make sure you control tourism or else tourism will end up controlling you,” Dr. Ap warns.