The plan calls for – among other things – the development of the Greater Bay Area as a prominent centre for international-standard education. The outline development plan also calls for Greater Bay Area cooperation in developing Macao as a base for tourism education and training. Such an aim had already been included in the Framework Agreement on Deepening Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Cooperation in the Development of the Greater Bay Area, signed in July 2017 between the National Development and Reform Commission, the Guangdong Provincial Government, the Hong Kong SAR Government, and the Macao SAR Government.
The Greater Bay Area concept encompasses the efforts of the 2 Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic of China, namely the Hong Kong SAR and the Macao SAR; and 9 cities from Guangdong Province, namely Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing. The initiative aims to advance and integrate development in the Greater Bay Area in relation to matters including the economy and trade, environmental protection, and tourism, and ensure the Greater Bay Area is globally competitive.
IFT has assumed a significant role in assisting the development of the Greater Bay Area by helping tourism and hospitality industries in the city cluster to thrive. In October 2018, an interest group called the Alliance for Developing Macao into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Education and Training Base was formed. The Macao-based coalition brings together 3 government bodies and 10 local higher education institutions, including IFT as the coordinating unit. The goal of the Alliance is to support Macao’s development as a base for tourism education and training for the Greater Bay Area, as envisioned by the Central Government.
IFT signed in academic year 2018/19 a memorandum of cooperation with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Sun Yat-sen University, for the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Research Alliance. The 3 higher education institutions – based respectively in Macao, Hong Kong and Guangdong Province – aim jointly to work on research related to developing tourism in the Greater Bay Area.
The IFT Tourism and Hotel School has cooperated with educational institutions in Guangdong Province for many years, namely for provision of professional training. Under the Outline Development Plan for the Greater Bay Area, such cooperation intensified in academic year 2018/19, involving new institutional partners.
On 25 January 2019, IFT signed a cooperation agreement with the Guangzhou Tour Guide Association. It aims to: promote tourism development; enhance tourism cooperation between Macao and Guangzhou; and to support the development of Macao as a tourism training base for the Greater Bay Area.
Following the agreement signing, IFT representatives were invited to attend the 2019 General Meeting of the Guangzhou Tour Guide Association, held on 22 March 2019. The IFT delegation delivered a presentation to about 300 participants, with the aim of broadening attendees’ professional horizons.
In addition, IFT signed on 20 March 2019 an agreement with the Education Bureau of Guangzhou Municipality, for cooperation projects on human-resource training and to promote the development of Guangzhou’s vocational education system.
Professional training activities held by IFT in academic year 2018/19 in relation to the Greater Bay Area initiative included:
– Exchange for high-ranking officials
IFT and the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province co-organised in September 2018 a Greater Bay Area tourism talent exchange and cooperation programme. It was attended by delegates respectively from the Tourism Administration of Guangdong Province and from tourism bureaus and related organisations from 9 cities in the province. Topics discussed included the Macao tourism industry, tourism development cooperation within the Greater Bay Area, resort management, and destination marketing.
– Jiangmen Tourism Management Training Programme
In September and October 2018, IFT’s Tourism and Hotel School offered a training programme on tourism management to government officials from the tourism bureaus of several locations in Guangdong Province, namely Jiangmen, Taishan, Kaiping, Xinhui and Enping. The scheme was also attended by management-level representatives from Jiangmen Polytechnic, the Jiangmen Tourism Industry Association, and from major tourist attractions around Jiangmen. The goal of the programme was to help increase the quality of service provided by employees in the tourism industry in Jiangmen, one of the core cities in the Greater Bay Area.
– Symposium for Greater Bay Area tour guides
On 24 October 2018, IFT and the Guangzhou Tour Guide Association hosted the event “The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – A symposium of nurturing intellectual tour guides for future tourism”. The symposium was co-organised with the Macau Tour Guide Promotion Association, the Macao Tourist Guides Union and the Hong Kong Professional Tourist Guides General Union.
– Customer-service and time-management courses
On 16 April and 24 April 2019, IFT representatives conducted courses on customer service and time management to staff at the Zhuhai Da Hengqin Pan-Tourism Development Co. Ltd.
– 2019 National Culinary Competition for Vocational Schools
Shunde Polytechnic, in Foshan, hosted the 2019 National Culinary Competition for Vocational Schools. The contest took place from 31 May to 2 June. A group of IFT representatives participated in event, to host a cooking demonstration on Macanese cuisine.
The IFT Tourism and Hotel School has been working with partners in Guangdong Province for more than 10 years to introduce its Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System (MORS) to other areas of the Greater Bay Area.
IFT and the Zhuhai No.1 Vocational School in Guangdong have worked together since 2009 to introduce MORS to Zhuhai. The school has used MORS to certify skills in 7 occupations and more than 3,850 students have benefitted from MORS training.
In addition, IFT and the Ling Dong Vocational and Technical School have been working together to promote MORS in Nansha. The scheme has already been used to certify skills in 2 occupations, namely front desk agent and bartender.
In February and March 2019, IFT representatives visited a number of educational institutions in Guangdong Province to deliver MORS front-desk training and assessments, to a group of teaching staff. Partner institutions in the training effort included: Zhongshan Polytechnic, Jiangmen Polytechnic, Dongguan Polytechnic, Zhuhai No.1 Vocational School, City College of Huizhou, and the Guangzhou Vocational School of Tourism and Business. A total of 23 participants successfully obtained entry-level professional certificates and trainer certificates for this job category.
Smart tourism is rapidly making its way up the agenda of policymakers and industry operators within the Greater Bay Area. The concept was discussed at a special forum held by IFT in academic year 2018/19.
The “Public Forum on ‘Smart Tourism, Smart Destinations’” was part of an ongoing series of open-to-the-public events organised by IFT to promote training, education and research within the Greater Bay Area.
Speakers at the forum included Deputy Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Mr. Ricky Hoi, Hong Kong scholar Prof. Rob Law, and Wynn Macau Ltd Executive Director of Research, Planning and Strategy, Dr. Jason Ni.
All forum speakers agreed that momentum was building in the Greater Bay Area regarding the use and development of smart-tourism-related tools. They added that the next step would be to advance in-depth cooperation in this field between the cities covered by the Greater Bay Area initiative.
About 80 participants attended the event, including: members of the general public; representatives from higher-education institutions in either Macao or other parts of the Greater Bay Area; governmental officials; and tourism industry executives.
Elevating tea culture
Between November and December 2018, IFT ran a course in preparation for the examination for the National Occupational Qualification Certificate – Tea Master (Primary Skill Level).
The qualification is awarded by the Central People’s Government Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, and IFT offered the course in partnership with the Labour Affairs Bureau of Macao.
Certified staff in Chinese tea culture belonging to the Guangdong Occupational Skill Testing Authority conducted the course. A total of 63 students took part in the examination.