CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF IFTM
A unique kind of education in tourism and hospitality
The Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM), established in 1995, pioneered tourism and hospitality education in Macao. The Institute, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary, is widely regarded as the city’s leading institution in the field, and one of the region’s main exponents of such education.
IFTM provides the most comprehensive and professional tertiary education programmes for cultivating potential talent, and does so in line with the needs of the local industry.
IFTM is playing important roles in the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and friendship-building with Portuguese-speaking countries.
IFTM has been striving for excellence, and to innovate continuously, in order to launch a number of courses that meet the expectations of the industry, and align with the Macao SAR Government’s development plan.
Setting the path for the years ahead
The IFTM Council, established earlier this year, brings together various stakeholders, to further the contributions of the Institute to tourism education, explains Chair Mr. Chan, also head of the United Association of Food and Beverage Merchants of Macao
“In just 25 years, IFTM has amassed various awards and achievements. The quality of education and training provided by the Institute is excellent and innovative. The Institute undertakes worldwide recruitment to obtain its academic staff, and assesses its existing faculty members annually, to continue improving the quality of teaching.”
“The role of the IFTM Council is to set the direction of the Institute’s development, and to monitor and review the execution of such a strategy. IFTM’s development focuses on serving the local community, thus fulfilling its social responsibility. It should provide quality education, assisting students to better integrate into the local society, and cultivating fresh talent to work in the tourism and hospitality industry or to conduct research.”
“We at the IFTM Council have several short-, middle- and long-term goals. An important goal is to ensure proper use of the land resources that the Macao SAR Government has given the Institute, in order to push forward the positioning of Macao as a Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. A second goal is to build a ‘smart campus’, to enhance the study environment for students.”
“We will definitely do our best to promote the IFTM brand in the field of tourism and hospitality education. This can work as a ‘business card’ for Macao. Being renowned in tourism and hospitality education is helpful to the IFTM students, as well as helpful in recruiting more people to join IFTM. We hope to enlarge the number of students that come from outside Macao.”
The quality of education at IFTM and the Institute’s contributions to the community are recognised by the many awards and accolades it has received since its establishment
- Medal of Merit for Tourism | 2008
Macao SAR Government
- Eight UNWTO.TedQual-certified bachelor degree programmes
- International Quality Review | 2017
U.K.’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA)
- Gold Award in Education and Training | 1997 and 2002
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA)
- ISO 20000 IT Service Management System Certification | Since 2013
- ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Certification | Since 2016
- ISO 9001 Quality Management System Certification | Since 2018
- ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management System Certification | Since 2020
- ISO 27001 Information Security Management System Certification | Since 2020
International Organization for Standardization
- Macao Green Hotel Gold Award (for the Pousada de Mong-Há Educational Hotel) | Valid until 2019
Macao Environmental Protection Bureau
- Recommended Restaurant (for the IFT Educational Restaurant) | Since 2009
- Grand Merit Award: Business Awards of Macau | 2016
De Ficção Multimedia Projects and Charity Association of Macau Business Readers
A bright future
Mr. Francis Lui Yiu Tung, who is also Deputy Chairman of integrated resort operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd., discusses IFTM's likely future path
“We need to focus on the sustainable development of IFTM so that the Institute continues to be a strong think tank for the Macao SAR Government when drafting and evaluating Macao’s tourism and hospitality related policies and objectives. With tourism and hospitality being one of the fasting growing industries in Macao and the Asia-Pacific region, I believe that IFTM’s focus should remain on improving the quality of its teaching and research.”
“Besides, the Institute should also leverage on its expansion in Taipa, in order to train further persons qualified for tourism- and hospitality-related fields. This would enhance IFTM’s international reputation, and advance IFTM’s goal of becoming recognised as the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and as a global centre for tourism education and training.
“To create a more advanced and higher-quality environment for study, the new facilities in Taipa need to incorporate new technologies, and ultimately, become a smart campus that can attract a greater number of international students. Meanwhile, to align with the Macao SAR Government’s policy on local talent cultivation, I believe that IFTM should continue cultivating local academics, by conducting more policy analysis and research. IFTM should also tap into its global network and relationships with world-renowned tertiary education institutions – including UNWTO, PATA, and other organisations – to increase collaborations and further support the Macao SAR Government in promoting Macao as a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.”
IFTM was established in 1995, but its story began 2 decades earlier
IFTM’s beginnings can be traced back to the 1970s, when the then-Portuguese administration in Macao decided to establish a tourism school in the city.
A Tourism and Hotel School, run as a vocational education and training unit, was inaugurated in 1982, at Mong-Há Hill. It already included the Pousada de Mong-Há training hotel, created from an unfinished building originally intended for use as a military sergeants’ mess by the Portuguese administration.
The University of East Asia Polytechnic College began offering in 1986 Macao’s first programme in Hotel Management. In 1991, the college became Macao Polytechnic Institute, and continued to offer that programme.
The next step in IFTM’s formation came in 1993, when then-Governor Vasco Rocha Vieira decided to establish a publicly-run, higher ducation institution, solely focused on tourism.
IFTM was officially inaugurated on 15 September, 1995. It absorbed the Tourism and Hotel School, which still exists as a sub-unit of the Institute, focused on vocational training. A second sub-unit was established to offer higher-education programmes, taking over from Macao Polytechnic Institute the teaching of the programme in Hotel Management.
IFTM boomed via the rapid expansion of Macao’s tourism and hospitality industry, following the city’s return to Chinese administration. The Institute grew from a boutique school, into a top education provider in Asia for would-be professionals in the field.
The institution additionally saw dramatic increases not only in the number of students, but also in the quality and impact of its programmes. That has been widely recognised, as IFTM continues collecting awards and other accolades, domestically and internationally.
to become a leading higher education institution in tourism and service industry studies that equips students with professional knowledge and technical competence in preparation for their future leadership responsibilities in the industry
We hope to continue our cooperation with IFTM, as part of our effort in striving for excellence in learning and in educational innovation.
As the only higher education institution in Macao focusing on tourism education, IFTM has laid the foundation for the sustainable development of Macao’s tourism industry.
We hope IFTM will continue to promote high-quality study programmes and to provide excellent educational experiences to students, enabling them to master relevant knowledge and skills to contribute to the growth of the tourism and hospitality industry.
Promise fulfilled, prospects in place
IFTM has come a long way in just 25 years, from a boutique educational unit, to a fully-fledged higher education institution, says the current President
“In higher education, 25 years is not a long journey. But IFTM has achieved a lot since being established, with the quality of our education being recognised by our international partners, and by the tourism and hospitality industry globally.”
“We started as a very small institution. We had only a few hundred students for our degree programmes, and a few hundred others for our professional training courses. To meet the phenomenal growth in the tourism and hospitality industry in Macao over the past decade, our institution expanded significantly, and rapidly increased the number of our students.”
“Over the past 5 years, we have seen a lot of changes at IFTM. We have now a larger overall footprint in terms of facilities, with the addition of the Taipa Campus. We also have a growing number of programmes, including the ability to offer postgraduate-level degrees. We have now students enrolled in all levels of education, from professional training to the PhD level.”
“It is important to highlight the dedication, commitment and professionalism of our team. Many of our members have been with IFTM from the very start. They have witnessed the changes and the challenges related to the Institute’s development. Quality underpins our work, and everybody understands that: this is the culture that we have built.”
“Looking ahead to the next 25 years, IFTM can, thanks to our solid foundation, go even further. Imagination and creativity can take us beyond even the achievements we have made so far.”
Over the past 25 years, IFTM has experienced many milestone events that have made significant contributions to the education sector and society as a whole
THE EARLY DAYSIFTM is officially established in August 1995, led by its inaugural president, Dr. Virgínia Trigo. Classes start the following month, with just two higher-diploma programmes on offer – Tourism, and Hotel Management. Half a year later, the Institute launches its own logo. In December 1996, the Tourism Business Management Bachelor Degree Programme is established.
The quality of education at IFTM rapidly gains international acclaim. In April 1997, the Institute receives the Gold Award in “Education and Training” from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), in recognition of the quality of its programmes. The Institute becomes, in March 2000, the first institution worldwide accredited by the United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO.TedQual Certification System for tourism education.
A NEW ERAFollowing the return of Macao to the People’s Republic of China in late 1999, and the liberalisation of the gaming industry in 2002, the city’s tourism and hospitality industry enters a period of rapid growth that boosts the role of IFTM. Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan is appointed President, in November 2001. In April the following year, the Institute is again presented with the PATA Gold Award in “Education and Training” (pictured), now for having set up the Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System (MORS), a training and certification scheme covering a variety of industry job categories.
Other key developments take place during this period. The IFTM Alumni Association is established in September 2002. A year later, the Inspiration Building, on the Mong-Há Campus, opens. In September 2005, the Institute launches 2 new Bachelor-Degree Programmes: Heritage Management; and Tourism Event Management.
EXPANDING OFFERINGIFTM enlarges its educational offering. In 2009, it launches a daytime programme leading to a Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Retail and Marketing Management. In December that year, the Community Education and Development Programme Training Centre is established, offering Macao residents access to a wide range of free, basic training courses related to the services sector.
In September 2010, IFTM launches its first 2 Evening Bachelor Degree Programmes, Hotel Management; and Tourism Event Management, each with instruction in Chinese.
The Institute continues to receive accolades during this phase of its development. The Macao Government honours IFTM in December 2008 with the Medal of Merit in Tourism (pictured). IFTM’s two training units, the Educational Restaurant, and Pousada de Mong-Há, get recommendations in the inaugural 2009 Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau guide. They are featured in all subsequent editions – to date – of the annual guide.
In 2009, IFTM inaugurates a second set of facilities, located in the César Fortune Building, Taipa.
MORE SPACE, BETTER PROSPECTSBy now IFTM’s Taipa presence has shifted to a new campus in that district. The Taipa Campus launches with a plaque-unveiling ceremony (pictured) in October 2015. The site consists of several existing buildings that the Macao SAR Government grants to the Institute after the University of Macau moves from Taipa to Hengqin Island.
The new IFTM campus includes the Institute’s first Student Hostel. It starts welcoming students from outside Macao in November 2014, even before the rest of the new campus is operational. Teaching at the new campus begins in August 2016, and IFTM vacates the Taipa facilities in the César Fortune Building.
On the curricular front, IFTM launches one more Bachelor Degree Programme: the Culinary Arts Management Programme, introduced in September 2011.
A FULLY-FLEDGED HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONFrom 2016, IFTM takes part in a number of tourism education-related initiatives to help achieve goals set by the Central Government in relation to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The goals include making Macao a Tourism Education and Training Base for the region.
The IFTM Global Centre for Tourism Education and Training is officially established in November 2016, following a partnership between the Macao SAR Government and the UNWTO. The Centre provides training – in cooperation with the UNWTO – for tourism officials from other parts of Asia, and professionals from further afield.
A new governing Charter for IFTM takes effect in August 2019. The expanded organisational structure of the Institute – as set out under the new Charter – includes a Council; comprising various stakeholders and designed to oversee IFTM’s development.
The new Charter changes the official name of the Institute with effect from academic year 2019/20. It becomes the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies, or IFTM, instead of the Institute for Tourism Studies, or IFT.
IFTM launches in August 2019 its first group of postgraduate programmes, at diploma-, master’s degree-, and PhD-level. Almost 25 years after its establishment, the Institute becomes a fully-fledged, higher education institution.
Having joined the Institute in its early years, IFTM Vice-President Ms. Ian has a unique perspective on IFTM’s development
“My first visit to Colina de Mong-Há, where the Mong-Há Campus is now, was for a school field trip in the 1970s, when I was a primary school student. Later, I was one of the first to graduate from the tourism and hospitality school that preceded IFTM, also at Colina de Mong-Há.”
“I began working at IFTM in 1996. That coincided with the period before the handover of Macao to China. There was a lot of young staff members joining the Institute at that time. IFTM was a very dynamic place from the beginning. We took part in a number of projects, including one with the European Union, which lead to the establishment in 2001, of the Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System (MORS), still one of our most successful schemes in professional training.”
“The growth of IFTM coincided with a boom in Macao’s development. Over the past 15 years, the tourism and hospitality industry in Macao has developed very quickly. So IFTM was a timely project in that sense. We have been regularly making adjustments to our offer as an institution, because the nature of our business is education: we must act ahead of change; we cannot be reactive.”
“As we expand to our new Taipa Campus, the physical environment is different from the Mong-Há Campus, but the people are the same, and that is a key factor. As we look ahead, the most important thing is that we retain our unique institutional culture.”
The Pioneering President
Dr. Virgínia Trigo was the first ever President of IFTM, and the strength of her vision for the Institute is still keenly felt throughout tourism and hospitality education in Macao
In celebration of IFTM’s 25th year, alumni reminisce about their time at the Institute, reflect on standout memories and consider how IFTM has influenced the life they lead today.
Coming full circle
Scholar Dr. Loi, appointed Vice-President in July, is the first IFTM graduate to reach such a high-profile position at the Institute
“I really feel very honoured to be in this position, focusing on academic affairs, curriculum enhancement and research output. I must express my utmost gratitude to the Institute’s management. Many of its members have witnessed my career development, from being a student to where I am now. But I am not an exception: many IFTM graduates have achieved much in their area of work, including in the tourism and hospitality industry. I see this as being linked to the kind of training and education that we received from IFTM.”
“I had the experience of being a student at IFTM, so I know what students look for in education. As an IFTM staff member, I have worked at all levels, from trainee, to lecturer, programme coordinator and acting vice-director, encompassing administrative and academic roles. These various experiences have helped me better to understand the operations of IFTM. I am blessed to have all-round experience of working at IFTM. I think this helps me a lot.”
“The coming few years at IFTM will definitely be very challenging: a lot of activities and new projects are going on. We will actively seek to expand our postgraduate programmes, not in terms of the number of programmes, but in terms of the intake size. We aim in the future to be a more research-oriented institution. Also, we would like to strengthen our international presence: we have always been working in that direction.”
IFTM LIFE THROUGH A LENS
From the early days of the Institute’s establishment to the visit to the Mong-Há Campus of Madame Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping: 25 moments in IFTM’s history, captured in photographs from the Institute’s archive
The IFTM Anthem
The IFTM Anthem, created in the early days of the Institute, aimed to celebrate its ethos. In October 2001, IFTM produced a special music video to promote the anthem