IFTM hosted on 14 June a seminar on “Integration and innovative development of the culture and tourism industry in Hengqin and Macao”. The event took place on the Mong-Há Campus.
Special guests included IFTM President Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan and the Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes. The latter delivered a keynote speech during the event.
The seminar featured a number of speakers linked to the fields of culture and tourism, including trade representatives, scholars and other experts. Also present were government officials from, respectively, Macao and neighbouring Hengqin Island in Guangdong Province. The seminar generated in-depth discussion, with participants sharing information about their expectations and needs, with a view to boosting collaboration between Macao and Hengqin.
The seminar helped advance exchanges between the culture and tourism industries of the 2 places, and ideas about innovation in those fields. The event also addressed the issue of sustainability in relation to culture and tourism, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During her keynote speech, Ms. Senna Fernandes discussed how Macao’s positioning as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure connected with a plan by the State Council of the People’s Republic of China to develop Hengqin as an “International Leisure and Tourism Island”. According to the MGTO Director, collaboration between Macao and Hengqin in support of their respective strategic roles as tourism centres would be advantageous, boosting for consumers the overall accessibility of tourism elements in the 2 places, and contributing to Macao’s adequate economic diversification.
“Macao has 2 main selling points regarding tourism: having its Historic Centre inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List and being a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy,” said Ms. Senna Fernandes. “Moreover, the city has developed a lot of world-class integrated resorts over the past 20 years,” she added. “There are not many other places in the world that can compare with Macao in this regard.”
The MGTO head also noted: “These Macao features complement those in Hengqin. The 2 places can enjoy mutual benefits from the development of tourism resources in Hengqin and from the signature attractions of Macao.”
IFTM President Dr. Vong highlighted in her remarks at the seminar that the Institute was – via several educational initiatives – helping advance the tourism and hospitality industry in Hengqin. That included the opening of the IFTM Hengqin Training Base – Centre for Vocational Practice, in the Sumlodol Camping Town, a leisure destination on Hengqin.
“We have been organising many activities in Hengqin, including training courses, skill assessments and exchange programmes,” Dr. Vong said. She noted that, as authorised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, IFTM had been named in 2019 as the relying unit of the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The role meant the Institute was coordinating its effort with partners in and outside the Greater Bay Area – including in Hengqin – to promote the development of tourism education in the city cluster.