The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) and IFT are again joining hands to host training workshops for civil servants belonging to tourism-related bodies in Portuguese-speaking countries.
IFT is contributing to this annual MGTO training programme for the third year running. The programme is held in partnership with the Permanent Secretariat of the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and the Portuguese-Speaking Countries, or Forum Macao.
This year, 3 batches of trainees will come to Macao, each comprising about 10 officials from tourism organisations in Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Principe, and Timor-Leste. Each training session lasts 2 weeks and includes 2 days of workshops at IFT.
The IFT workshops for the first batch of trainees this year were held on 15 March and 20 March. The first was on consumer behaviour and destination branding, and the second was on managing tourist attractions successfully. Both workshops included field trips within Macao, the first to 5-star hotels and the second to tourist attractions.
The IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training arranged the workshops. The centre was established in 2016 to strengthen the Institute’s position as an international hub for education and training. Making IFT an international centre for tourism education includes increasing cooperation between the Institute and the Portuguese-speaking countries. This is in line with the efforts of the Macao SAR Government to promote the city as a cooperation platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
The Director of the Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training is IFT Visiting Professor Dr. John Ap. He says the workshops at IFT are meant to give the trainees from the Portuguese-speaking countries the abilities they need to attract more tourists to their respective markets. Each country has attractions that constitute its tourism brand, so the challenge, he says, is “how to market and develop that brand to ensure there is positive awareness”.
Dr. Ap ran the workshop on managing attractions held in March. He says the workshop was meant to give the trainees “some of the keys to success in delivering a memorable guest experience”. It included visits to various types of tourist attraction in Macao.
The teaching approach highlighted good practices while pointing out mistakes the trainees can learn from. “It is about the importance of thinking through your project right from the planning point, from a guest’s perspective,” he says.
One trainee attending the workshop was the head of the São Tomé and Principe Department of Tourism Inspection, Mr. Adilson Miguel da Graça. He says the sessions were interesting to see the way Macao applies good management practices. The challenge he and the other trainees now face is to work out how to adapt and apply such practices in their respective countries. He was encouraged by how a city as small as Macao can have so much to offer. Macao can serve as an example in this respect for São Tomé and Príncipe, a tiny archipelago in Africa, Mr. da Graça says.
An official of the Angolan Ministry of Hospitality and Tourism, Ms. Débora Tatiana de Almeida Matoso, thinks Macao has set a good example of how to develop tourism quickly, and intends to tell her colleagues at home about it. Ms. Matoso says one thing Angola should certainly copy from Macao is the opening of its borders so more people can visit easily.
The second batch of trainees taking the MGTO programme this year will arrive in Macao in May, and the third batch will arrive July.