A new academic year has begun. For many new students, starting higher education studies while the COVID-19 pandemic is still active worldwide, might seem daunting.
We at IFTM are aware that the COVID-19 situation marks an anxious and uncertain time for entrants in higher education. Fresh undergraduates might be concerned how the job market will look by the time they graduate, as the world economy – and particularly the tourism sector – is undergoing massive transformation, triggered by the pandemic. But the same changes are fleshing out numerous new opportunities career-wise, with tourism and hospitality among the main beneficiaries.
For instance, COVID-19 is underpinning a new era for ‘smart tourism’, bridging traditional tourism and technology. Authorities on the Mainland already have put forward the concept of ‘Internet plus tourism’, calling on tourism operators to make use of 5G communications to speed up introduction of technology-driven facilities and attractions.
In Macao, the SAR Government is promoting deeper integration of tourism with other sectors, via a policy called ‘Tourism+’. The goal is to establish joint projects between industries, to meet the needs of inbound visitors in relation to tourism, shopping and entertainment, and to promote economic diversification.
We at IFTM are swiftly working to adapt and respond to the various paradigm shifts in the industry, so as to equip students with knowledge and capabilities for a future where technology and tourism will be increasingly intertwined. Our effort includes soon-to-be-launched postgraduate offerings in smart technologies for hospitality and tourism, and changes to several of our existing undergraduate courses.
In addition, IFTM’s iRetail Lab was officially opened in June. It is a training platform for practical education in the fields of retailing and marketing management.
In the current academic year, we also are furthering our effort in supporting entrepreneurship. We are launching the IFTM Ideation Lab, to stimulate entrepreneurial behaviour and innovation.
Our goal with this string of initiatives is that IFTM’s students can master skills tailored for tomorrow’s tourism and hospitality industry. Such effort will help our graduates and postgraduate degree holders rise above the competition in the labour market.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity for communities to emerge with stronger, more resilient, and more equitable economies. It means that fresh entrants in higher education have a groundbreaking opportunity – like few others before them – to determine the direction, the narrative and the outcome of their studies. That can be empowering, as long as students take responsibility for their learning path.