IFTM Hosts Culture and Tourism Development Training for Greater Bay Area Participants

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Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM) hosted a program offering culture and tourism development training in early November.

The 3-day activity for culture and tourism sector representatives from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area included talks, a technical visit to a tourism complex, and exchange of ideas on culture and tourism operations, marketing, and promotion.

The training initiative was organized by the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

An opening ceremony took place on 5 November at IFTM’s Taipa Campus. It was attended by several high-ranking officials, including Vice-Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, Mr. Zhang Xu, and the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao SAR Government, Ms. Ao Ieong U.

Other attendees included: Director-General of the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, Mr. Chen Guokai; Director General of the Department of Culture and Tourism of Guangdong Province, Mr. Wang Yiyang; and IFTM President, Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan.

Also taking part in the opening ceremony were culture, radio and television, tourism, and sports officials from 9 cities within the Greater Bay Area, as well as representatives from the region’s cultural and tourism sectors.

In his speech, Vice Minister Zhang highlighted the importance of the training activity. He pointed out it was the first face-to-face initiative of its kind following the easing of COVID-19-related travel curbs between Macao and Mainland China, namely the cancellation of automatic quarantine requirements.

Mr. Zhang said the training initiative would have a significant impact on enhancing the professional knowledge of top management in the culture and tourism sectors in the Greater Bay Area. He added such steps would promote – in a pragmatic way – the talent needed for a world-class tourism destination.

In her remarks, Secretary Ao Ieong explained the training session’s goal was to use the example of tourism development in Macao – including the city’s promotion of cultural tourism products – in order to inspire among participants fresh ideas linked to tourism development.

To implement Macao’s positioning as stated in the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – including that the city as a whole should act as a Tourism Education and Training Base – requires using Macao’s tourism education experience and Macao’s clear strength in the tourism sector.

In December last year, IFTM was listed as the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, indicating IFTM’s leadership role in this endeavor. The Institute is collaborating with partners in and outside the Greater Bay Area in order to nurture tourism professionals for the region.

November’s training initiative was the latest by the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Greater Bay Area. It was part of the effort to promote the development of tourism education in the Greater Bay Area, and to contribute to the development of the Greater Bay Area as a world-class tourism destination.

In early 2020, the Tourism Education and Training Base organized 2 training initiatives, attended in aggregate by more than 100 representatives of tourism companies and other entities within the Greater Bay Area. These sessions were focused respectively on the development of vocational training standards and hotel management.

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic – and in response to requests from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism – the Tourism Education and Training Base hosted a total of 11 free, online seminars linked to tour guide training. The seminars took place between March and July, attracting around 1,340 tour guides from across the Greater Bay Area.

According to IFTM President Dr. Vong, there are plans for the Tourism Education and Training Base – in partnership with the governments of various cities within the Greater Bay Area, industry associations, and other educational bodies – to explore new forms of online and offline training for professionals in the region.

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains under control in Macao and in Mainland China, the goal is to boost training, exchanges and research, in order to nurture fresh talent, promote the integrated development of tourism education within the Greater Bay Area, and help in positioning the region as a world-class tourism destination, Dr. Vong said.