Developing sustainable tourism and destination branding during times of crisis was the main theme of the IFTM Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training’s latest online programme, delivered in early December. The training initiative featured 3 webinars and was organised in collaboration with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).
The programme took place on 6, 7 and 9 December. Topics covered included development of sustainable tourism, strategic use of destination marketing, and destination branding.
A total of 22 people took part. Of those, 20 were drawn from across 6 countries part of ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, namely Cambodia, Indonesia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam. The remaining 2 participants were drawn from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
The webinars also attracted online viewers within the Mainland and in Macao, as well as ones in Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the United Kingdom.
It was the IFTM Global Centre’s second online training programme in 2021 in partnership with UNWTO. The first, in June, was for officials from either island countries in Asia or ones in the Pacific Ocean. Its theme was “Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism in Island Countries”.
Programme content praised
One of the webinars in December’s programme featured presentations by IFTM scholars Dr. Jack Ly Tuan Phong and Prof. John Ap. The academics addressed key issues and suggested some long-term solutions in relation to planning and developing sustainable tourism. In a separate webinar, IFTM’s Dr. Christy Ng Yen Nee and Dr. Shanshan Qi discussed theories and tools useful in destination marketing and branding.
The third webinar included 2 tourism industry executives: Dr. Carmen Lam, Principal Consultant of Crikx & Co Ltd, a marketing and business consultancy based in Hong Kong; and Mr. Koen Ruisch, Chief Executive and Marketing Manager of Happy Trails! Asia, a destination management company in Indonesia. They shared with programme participants information about some of their professional experiences, and gave advice on the development of strategic marketing and branding to overcome challenges in times of crisis.
Mr. Vongkeo Siamphone, an official from the Tourism Development Department of the Laotian Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, was one of the participants in the online training programme. He said it would be “useful” for him professionally, as it had broadened his horizons regarding tourism planning and marketing.
Fellow programme participant Mr. Sopharun Hor, an official from the Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia, stated the training programme had “provided opportunities for participants to learn from, and interact with, experts and professionals in tourism”. He added that topics discussed in the webinars were “very relevant and useful” for tourism professionals, “especially in a time of crisis, like this ongoing pandemic”.
IFTM’s Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training 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 its establishment, the Centre has hosted a total of 36 programmes, attended in aggregate by more than 520 participants, drawn from a total of 35 countries and regions.