Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes has praised the training workshops arranged by IFT for civil servants from Portuguese-speaking countries.
“IFT has always been a good partner of MGTO,” Ms. Senna Fernandes says. “Our collaboration with IFT has always been very positive, and it will continue.”
IFT arranged the workshops as part of an annual training programme put on by MGTO for civil servants in Portuguese-speaking countries that deal with tourism. Officials from Angola, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe received training in Macao given by the MGTO programme this year. Between May and September 3 groups of about 10 trainees each received 2 weeks of instruction, which included 2 days of workshops at IFT.
The latest annual training programme was the second that IFT had contributed to. The workshops were arranged by the IFT Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training.
The role IFT plays as an international centre for education in tourism includes cooperation with the Portuguese-speaking countries. This is in line with the efforts of the Macao SAR Government to promote the city as a Commercial and Trade Cooperation Service Platform between the People’s Republic of China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.
Ms. Senna Fernandes says MGTO will put on its training programme again next year and that she expects IFT to be involved. “The programme is a unique opportunity for us to share information and knowledge with the Portuguese-speaking countries. For participants, it is a good opportunity to enlarge their knowledge of tourism.”
Of the 2 IFT workshops for the last group of officials to take the programme in 2017, one was about tourism planning and development, and the other about tourism development in historic cities.
IFT Invited Assistant Professor Dr. Sharif Shams Imon says: “Macao is in a unique situation. It is a small city, but it has a lot of heritage sites and tourism is very important here.”
Dr. Imon was in charge of the workshop on tourism development in historic cities. “When it comes to instructing people about issues related to tourism development, Macao is a living case study,” he says. “It is much easier to teach when you have an example right in front of students.”
The group that attended the MGTO training programme in September was the first to include officials from São Tomé and Príncipe. Their attendance followed the restoration in December 2016 of diplomatic relations between China and São Tomé and Príncipe.
One of the civil servants attending was Ms. Adalgiza Cravid, an official of the São Tomé and Principe Ministry of Finance, Commerce and the Blue Economy Planning Department. “The IFT workshops were very interesting, as they related to planning and to the vision each country should have for tourism,” Ms. Cravid says. “They surpassed my expectations.”
Ms. Cravid says the knowledge she acquired in the workshops would be useful in the development of tourism in her country. “Although we have our own background, what we learned can be adapted accordingly,” she says.
Another of the civil servants attending was Mr. Gonçalves Ernesto Guambe of the Mozambican Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Mr. Guambe says the development of tourism in his country had benefited from the adoption of industry best practices learned by Mozambican officials taking the MGTO training programme.
Mr. Guambe also lauds the IFT workshops. “One of the highlights of the workshops is the mixture of theory and practice,” he says. “We learn new concepts in the classroom and then do site tours, better to understand how they are applied in the real world. It is phenomenal.”
Yet another of the civil servants attending the MGTO training programme in September was Ms. Gisela Mesquita of the East Timorese National Trade and Investment Promotion Agency. Ms. Mesquita says the IFT workshops gave the trainees valuable insights into tourism development. “These workshops were very relevant to my line of work,” she says. “We receive a lot of interest from foreign and domestic investors that want to develop tourism-related projects.”
Ms. Mesquita was particularly interested in the workshop on tourism development in historic cities. “East Timor is one of the youngest countries in the world,” she says. “There are a lot of heritage-related resources we need to protect better before we start promoting them among tourists. It is important to learn what the most appropriate steps to achieve that are.”