The Global Centre of Tourism Education and Training of the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, in collaboration with UNWTO, held the second training programme this year in December 2020 which comprised four webinars based on the theme of “Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism and Reviving Tourism”. This online training programme addressed sustainable tourism in the context of recovery with respect to destination management, destination marketing, rural development/ community-based tourism, and the successful/unsuccessful coping strategies from an event’s management perspective.
This training programme was by invitation only and designed for decision-makers from UNWTO member state ministries and administrations of the Greater Mekong Sub-region, plus participants from the Greater Bay Area who were also invited to join. Nineteen (19) tourism officials from the six member states nominated by UNWTO in the Greater Mekong Sub-region, namely Cambodia, Lao P.D.R., Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Mainland China, as well as ten (10) from the Greater Bay Area enrolled and participated in the programme. Participants interacted and discussed with the presenters on the respective topics through a panel discussion session as well as with a Q&A open session. The training programme had also attracted over 86 views from a tourism audience from around the world, with observers from Bangladesh, Iran, Germany, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Spain, Sri Lanka, and the Macao SAR.
During the training, Mr. Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director of Mekong Tourism Co-ordination Office, Ms. Eunji Tae, Officer from the Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific of UNWTO, together with Prof. John Ap, Director of the Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training of Macao Institute for Tourism Studies highlighted the importance of this training in reviving tourism, and look forward to the sustainable development of tourism in the “new normal” resulting from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Various examples were presented by the IFTM scholars and the Milton Exhibits Group presenter who shared his experience in the coping strategies adopted in events management industry. Invited participants also shared their experience and ideas with the presenters and fellow participants.
When asked to comment on key takeaways obtained from the programme, Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of Institute for Tourism Development and Research from the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism said “This programme helps gaining knowledge and information about the current situation and forecast the outlook of tourism reviving in the future…it is useful to recommend policies and solutions for reviving the Vietnam tourism industry”.
Mr. Sarin Chhoeurn, Chief of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) Bureau of Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia commented that “the training programme inspired us to learn and (I have) gained experiences from different speakers… and from the comments of the GMS participants”.
Mr. Saipasong Vongsak, Deputy Director of Tourism Development Department from the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lao People’s Democratic Republic mentioned and rated the quality of the training as “10 out of 10, it doesn't take much time for each session, but very interesting and full of knowledge without feeling bored and also easy to take away the important information.”
The Centre 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.
The Centre is part of IFTM’s efforts to strengthen Macao’s position as an international hub for tourism education and training. It provides training and education courses in co-operation with UNWTO and other parties to help tourism officials and professionals enhance their knowledge and skills.
Since 2016, the Centre has hosted more than 33 programmes with around 403 participants from 34 countries and regions who have been involved in the Centre’s training activities.