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More than 250 people attend PATA Youth Symposium 2017 at IFT

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

More than 250 students, scholars and tourism industry professionals from either Macao or further afield, attended on 13 September the PATA Youth Symposium 2017. The event was hosted by IFT: it was the second time the Institute organised an edition of the initiative. The first time was in September 2010.

One of the highlights of the forum was a talk by the Group Chief Executive Officer of low-cost airline AirAsia, Mr. Tony Fernandes. He discussed the air carrier’s development and the role the firm has been playing in offering air travel to an ever-greater number of customers.

“My company is all about great people,” he stressed, adding that leaders should regularly have contact with their frontline staff and support their career development. That, Mr. Fernandes stated, would ultimately contribute to the sustainable development of the business.

Mr. Fernandes also encouraged students present at the event to pursue their dreams – as he had done – even if those dreams were seemingly against the odds. He noted he had acquired the then heavily indebted AirAsia by US$0.25 in 2001 before turning it in one of the most successful airlines in the world. “Believe in the unbelievable, dream the impossible and never take no for an answer,” he advised students, recalling he too had failed “hundreds of times” on his road to eventual success.

The PATA Youth Symposium – by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – aims to enable higher education students and young professionals to engage with tourism industry leaders. The 2017 edition featured plenary sessions and round-table discussions on various topics relevant to tourism and hospitality.

The symposium, a half-day forum, took place at the Grand Hall, at the IFT Mong-Há Campus. It was part of the PATA Travel Mart 2017, an event being held in Macao from 13 to 15 September at the Venetian Macao integrated resort, and hosted by the Macao Government Tourism Office. The PATA Travel Mart is the association’s signature event and one of Asia Pacific’s top travel trade shows.

Student-industry exchange hub

Dr. Mario Hardy, Chief Executive Officer of PATA, highlighted the importance of events such as the PATA Youth Symposium in enabling students and industry professionals to interact with each other. “The young people in this summit are the future leaders of our industry: it is very important for us to listen to them,” he said.

The President of IFT, Dr. Fanny Vong, highlighted the diverse background of the PATA Youth Symposium 2017 attendees, exemplified not only by the IFT undergraduates present, but also by the presence of members from several international PATA Student Chapters – via PATA-affiliated educational institutions – and the presence of industry representatives from Portuguese-speaking countries.

The Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office, Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, was one of the symposium’s invited guests. “This type of summit is important to encourage students to explore more about the tourism sector and to participate in more tourism-related events,” she said.

Ms. Senna Fernandes added that such initiatives were helpful to bring new blood and new ideas to the tourism industry. “It is important to give young people more information about our industry and to increase their engagement in the tourism sector,” she stated.

The PATA Youth Symposium 2017’s theme was: “Enabling Travel and Managing a Complex Future”. Speakers discussed topics such as artificial intelligence and automation in the tourism industry, and responsible travel. The event also featured cultural performances by IFT students.

Ringo Cheung was one of the Institute undergraduates attending the summit. He is a Year 2 student in the programme leading to a Bachelor of Science in Tourism Retail and Marketing Management.

Ringo said the event was an opportunity to learn more about tourism and hospitality. “It was quite interesting,” he stated. “Several industry professionals shared their opinions with us on a number of topics. I think their comments can be really useful for our future career.”

IFT Year 2 Hotel Management student Cintia Pon also joined the PATA Youth Symposium 2017. “I was interested to learn about the future of the industry, and what path should I take for myself,” she said. “It was very informative and helpful.”

PATA was founded in 1951 and is a non-profit, membership-based association dedicated to enabling responsible development of the Asia-Pacific travel and tourism industry. Its membership includes: 95 government, state and city tourism bodies; 29 international airlines, airports and cruise lines; 63 educational institutions; and hundreds of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific and beyond.

IFT has been a member of PATA since the Institute was established in 1995. The Institute has on 2 occasions been recognised with a Gold Award in Education and Training by PATA.

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