IFTM and Alibaba Cloud – the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group – are joining efforts to offer IFTM students courses on cloud computing and big data analytics. The 2 sides held a launching ceremony for the cooperation project on November 26, at IFTM.
The partnership aims to promote the integration of tourism education and information technology, as well as contribute to Macao’s positioning as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure. It includes collaboration in fields linked to professional accreditation and talent cultivation.
The agreement provides IFTM students access to online courses and accreditation schemes offered via Alibaba Cloud’s online learning platform, the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Program. Students will also have opportunities to participate in competitions organised by Alibaba Cloud.
In addition, IFTM faculty members will be able to join train-the-trainer programmes, in order to gain qualifications allowing them to lecture courses at IFTM on cloud computing, cloud security and big data analytics. The General Manager of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Macau, Mr. Thomas Ho Yuen Piu, says top academics at the Institute, as well as outstanding PhD students, will have the chance to take part in innovative research and specialist initiatives promoted by Alibaba.
The Alibaba Group formed in 2017 a partnership with the Macao SAR Government to help drive digital transformation across the city. A focus of the partnership is talent development, namely the training of professionals in cloud computing and e-commerce. “The partnership we are now launching with IFTM is a way to fulfil that commitment,” Alibaba’s Mr. Ho says.
IFTM is currently preparing to launch a Master’s Degree Programme in Smart Technologies in Hospitality and Tourism. IFTM President Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan says the partnership with Alibaba Cloud is “great in terms of providing solid support” to that programme, namely by offering students access to Alibaba Cloud’s store of knowledge and its educational materials.
Dr. Vong says the Alibaba Cloud Academic Empowerment Program makes valuable educational resources available to students, covering the latest trends and knowledge in information technology. She highlights that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digitalisation in a host of industries, underpinning a new era for ‘smart tourism’, i.e., linking traditional tourism with technology’s capabilities. IFTM is focused on ensuring its students are equipped with skills that allow them to be professionally competitive in the new digital era, by making use of the Institute’s partnership with industry leader Alibaba, adds Dr. Vong.
Alibaba’s Mr. Ho agrees the new partnership has great potential. “The integration of different areas of knowledge can enrich the courses offered by IFTM,” an outcome that would complement one of Alibaba’s targets for Macao – “to help build the city as a top tourism destination, especially in terms of smart tourism”.