Knowledge Main Headline

IFTM scholars strengthen engagement in academic conferences

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

Delivering presentations at scholarly conferences is part of an ongoing effort by IFTM faculty members to promote the Institute as a specialised academic research hub on tourism and hospitality. During the second semester of academic year 2020/2021, several scholars from the Institute were invited as speakers for a number of events, raising further the Institute’s profile in the academic world.

In late May, a group of academics from IFTM took part in the “Smart Tourism in the Greater Bay Area Forum”. The event was organised in hybrid format – i.e., hosted online and offline – by the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. IFTM was one of the supporting bodies.

During the Forum, IFTM President Dr. Fanny Vong Chuk Kwan chaired a keynote session involving presentations by several top executives in tourism.

In addition, IFTM Assistant Professor Dr. Qi Shanshan was a panellist in a session on the use of big data in tourism within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Dr. Qi highlighted the absence of a systematic plan setting a path for Macao’s development as a ‘smart destination’, coupled with a lack of theoretical guidance supporting the advancement of ‘smart tourism’ in the city.

Also attending the Forum as a panellist was Prof. Don Dioko, who heads the IFTM Tourism Research Centre. He discussed the topic of ‘smart ecosystems’ in tourism. During his presentation, he highlighted a number of challenges and opportunities created by smart tourism, namely from the standpoint of visitors, destination management organisations, and businesses.

IFTM Assistant Professor Dr. Yang Jingjing was a prolific participant in academic events at both national and international levels in academic year 2020/2021. During the second semester, she presented a scholarly paper at a parallel session of the “Beijing·Pinggu 2020 World Leisure Congress”, held in Beijing in hybrid format, and organised by the People’s Government of Beijing Municipality. The international congress saw the approval of the establishment of a ‘think thank’ to support the hosting of the China (Beijing) Leisure Congress, with Dr. Yang selected as a member.

Also in April, Dr. Yang attended the “2021 China Tourism Academy Summit”, hosted in hybrid format. The event was held by the China Tourism Academy and the offline part took place in Beijing. Dr. Yang participated in a round table discussion session and talked about tourism development in Macao and the wider Greater Bay Area.

COVID-19 under the spotlight

Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic impacted in-person presence during academic year 2020/2021 of IFTM scholars at international conferences held outside of Greater China. But the pandemic and its effects on tourism was a topic addressed by a number of IFTM faculty members in their research work and in academic presentations.

In mid-January, a trio of IFTM scholars took part in the “Tourism Research and Education Forum of Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macao and ASEAN”, held via videoconference. The event was organised by 2 units of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong Province, with IFTM among the co-organising entities.

During the Forum, IFTM Prof. John Ap delivered a presentation on “Tourism recovery post COVID-19: Implications for the future of tourism planning and development”. Assistant Professor Dr. Sandeep Basnyat also discussed the links between the pandemic and tourism, under the topic “Sustainable recovery of tourism after COVID-19: Community-based rural tourism approach”. Taking a different perspective, Prof. Wilco Chan Wai Hung focused on China’s Greater Bay Area plan and the connectivity plan being put forward by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a body also known as ASEAN. Prof. Chan shared with the audience some viewpoints on mitigating the impact of the pandemic on travel, and on nurturing tourism-sector talent.

The impact of COVID-19 on tourism was again addressed by Dr. Basnyat during the 4th International Scientific Conference “TOURMAN 2021”, held in May in online format by the International Hellenic University of Greece. Dr. Basnyat teamed with Mr. Sunil Sharma, from the Research, Planning and Monitoring Department at Nepal Tourism Board, to co-author a presentation titled “‘Perceptual authenticity’: a key to rejuvenating post-COVID tourism.”

The scope of presentations by IFTM scholars in academic year 2020/2021 did not only include national and international events. The scholars also participated in local seminars, directly addressing the challenges faced by Macao’s tourism and hospitality sector.

IFTM Assistant Professors Dr. Joe Zhou Yong, Dr. Li Xiangping and Dr. Hazel Xu Yueying took part in May in a seminar in Macao focused on tourism product innovation. The event was put on by the Tourism Committee of the Macau Chinese Enterprises Association and by the Association of Macau Tourist Agents.

During the seminar, the IFTM faculty members discussed the role of free independent travellers – tourists who plan their own trips and prefer to travel alone or in small groups – in Macao’s tourism development. The scholars pointed out the growing importance of this segment, and the need for tourism operators to develop specific products catering for these travellers, making use of strategies such as segmentation, differentiation and customisation.

President’s Corner

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