IFT wants to help shape the future of tourism and hospitality in Macao and further afield: that is exactly what the research conducted by its scholars aims to do. Such an outlook encompasses a belief in knowledge-sharing as a path to making research exceptional and relevant.

The Institute’s approach is collaborative: IFT researchers work with local and global partners in education and industry in order to deliver excellent research that is significant locally and globally. Testament to this is the growing body of literature produced by IFT researchers that has been published in the most respected academic journals.

The Institute has a commitment to producing original research that is rigorous and provides meaningful results. IFT academics are free to decide what topics to study, and whether to study them theoretically or empirically. The Institute strives to provide an environment that sustains research, namely by continuously enhancing IFT’s library resources, acquiring an increasing amount of specialised equipment and upgrading IFT’s information systems.

Among the subjects of our research published in 2018/19 were:
Job satisfaction
Smoking-control policies
Budget accommodation 
Construction and representation of cultural identity
Corporate social responsibility
Intangible heritage 
Festival development 
Branding and brand awareness 
Gender inequality
Some outcomes of IFT research published in 2018/19:

– A study involving IFT Lecturer Ms. Virginia Lau indicated families from Mainland China travelling to places featured on UNESCO’s World Heritage List expect their children to glean educational benefits from such trips. Tourism operators should take note of this, and develop products that address such expectations, the research suggested;

– Introducing positive-minded policies to the hospitality sector in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) can not only benefit society, but also the firms promoting these policies. A study by Assistant Professor Dr. Ali Bavik concluded that CSR policies can have a “generally positive effect” on employee behaviour, leading them to provide better customer service;

– A piece of research involving IFT scholars Dr. Li Xiangping and Dr. Penny Wan suggested Macao authorities should step up efforts to raise awareness among residents about the social and cultural benefits that hosting festivals bring to the city. Raising such awareness, the authors argued, could drive community support regarding development of festival tourism, helping to diversify Macao’s overall tourism offering.

In 2018/19 IFT took part in research collaboration projects with:

Sun Yat-sen University, Guangdong Province

Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR

In 2018/19 IFT served as a consultant to the:

Macao Economic Bureau

Macao Education and Youth Affairs Bureau


Year-on-year increase in output of academic papers published by IFT scholars in academic year 2018/19, with a significant percentage appearing in top academic journals



The hosting of international conferences is part of a wider effort by IFT to become a key locale for specialised international academic research on tourism and hospitality. Such events foster exchange of ideas among experts from all over the globe; they also serve to raise further the profile of IFT in the academic world and help to promote the latest research achievements of the Institute’s research staff.


IFT hosted in December 2018 the first edition of the International Conference on Tourism and Retail Management (TRMC2018). The event – themed “Advances in Tourism and Retail Services” – attracted nearly 100 participants, drawn from an aggregate of 13 countries and regions.

Discussion topics ranged from shopping tourism to the role of social media in consumer decisions. The conference was jointly organised by IFT, the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina, in the United States, and the College of Tourism and Service Management at the Nankai University in Tianjin.

One of the TRMC2018 keynotes that attracted a lot of attention was delivered by the University of South Carolina’s Prof. Mark S. Rosenbaum. He discussed the use of actual DNA of customers to produce tailor-made retail products for individual clients, a trend he called “hyper-personalisation”.

Prof. Arch G. Woodside, from Coastal Carolina University in the U.S., was one of the international academic experts attending the event. He is widely considered to be one of the top scholars in the world in the field of marketing. He was a speaker at TRMC2018 and also conducted a workshop on modern research and analysis techniques as one of the side events associated with the conference.

TRMC2018 featured contributions from outside academia. Mr. Johan Pretorius, Managing Director for Macao at luxury retailer DFS, shared with participants some insights on the latest trends in tourism retailing. The conference also included an open-to-the-public session on the “The Strategic and Integrated Tourism Development of the Greater Bay Area”, focused on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The event featured a post-conference tour allowing participants an opportunity to visit some of the largest shopping malls in the city and to meet industry representatives in order to discuss luxury tourism retailing and mall development in Macao.

The second edition of the TRMC conference was held at Nankai University in 2019.


IFT held in December 2018 the 3rd Annual Conference of the International Place Branding Association (IPBA). The conference was a platform for global practitioners and scholars of place branding and destination marketing to discuss the latest developments in place branding, destination marketing, and tourism-related matters.

It was the first time the IPBA held its annual conference in the Asia-Pacific region. The 2 previous editions took place in the United Kingdom. The association was founded in 2015 and brings together professionals working within – or having an interest in – the field of brand development and brand management for cities, regions, nations and other types of destinations.

The conference – jointly organised by IFT, the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management of the University of South Carolina, in the United States, and the U.K.’s Swansea University School of Management – attracted nearly 90 participants drawn from an aggregate of 23 countries and regions. It was also hosted by the Destination Branding and Marketing Group (DBM), an international conference series founded by IFT in 2005 and which now works in close partnership with the IPBA.

The event included a special open-to-the-public session focusing on the Greater Bay Area. The session, titled “Destination Branding of the Greater Bay Area – Opportunities and Challenges for Tourism”, featured place-branding researchers and experts from IFT, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the School of Tourism Management of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong Province, and the School of Hotel and Tourism Management of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The 3rd Annual Conference of the IPBA benefitted from contributions from industry practitioners and governmental officials. People from those professional categories who attended included Mr. Cheng Wai Tong, Deputy Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, and Mr. Grant Bowie, Chief Executive Officer of integrated resort operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.

Bridging the gap between academia
and industry

The IFT Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) is the Institute’s policy research and industry development arm. It was established in 2003. The Centre is a public policy think-tank, serving as consultant to various departments of the Macao SAR Government and working with an extensive network of research partners abroad.

The Centre is committed to doing high-quality research – theoretical and practical –and employing best practices. It undertakes policy studies, which are either commissioned or undertaken of its own accord, and does monitoring and evaluation studies. It also gives support to academic research.

The Centre regularly holds seminars, workshops and conferences to share with people in industry and government the findings of its latest research.

The ITRC compiles several indicators, including:

– Macao Tourism Carrying Capacity

– Macao Tourism Satisfaction Index

– Macao Visitor Profile Survey

– Human Resource Monitoring Survey

Countries or regions

Research papers by IFT academics were featured in 2018/19 at numerous international conferences held in different parts of the world, including the United States, France and Australia

© Published by the Institute for Tourism Studies, Macao • Colina de Mong-Há, Macao, China