Intelligence Main Headline

Tourism execs hail opportunities created by Greater Bay Area initiative

中文摘要 / Summary in Chinese

The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area initiative will unlock new opportunities in the tourism and hospitality sector. That is according to a number of industry executives that participated in a panel discussion on the Greater Bay at the 7th Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo, an event known as MITE.

MITE was held from 26 to 28 April at the Venetian Macao integrated resort. The event was organised by the Macao Government Tourism Office and coordinated by the Macau Travel Agency Association. It was supported by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

An interest group called the Alliance for Developing Macao into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Education and Training Base hosted 2 panel sessions on 27 April at the expo. They examined the likely impact of the Greater Bay Area initiative on tourism and hospitality. The first panel featured C-level executives from the tourism and hospitality sector based respectively in Macao, Hong Kong and the neighbouring Guangdong Province. The second panel consisted of young executives planning to advance their careers in the Greater Bay Area.

The Alliance is a Macao-based coalition, bringing together 3 government bodies and 10 local higher-education institutions, including IFT. 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.

Mr. Geoff Andres, Property President of Studio City – an integrated resort on Cotai in Macao – was one of the guests on the first of the panels organised by the Alliance.

Mr. Andres described the Greater Bay Area project as “the most forward-thinking and forward-planned initiative” in the world. He highlighted the ongoing infrastructure upgrades across the region, that were designed to make transportation more convenient. “You really can’t think of any other place in the world with this level of thoughtful investment and infrastructure,” he said on the sidelines of the panel discussion.

Mr. Andres noted that Macao was “the most amazing hospitality market in the world”, featuring a number of first-class resorts; in addition, it also offered quality tourism education. Those factors would help the city nurture talented professionals for the Greater Bay Area as a whole, he said.

Fellow panellist Mr. Andrew Chan stressed the importance of lifelong education and training for each professional in the sector, as a route to tourism development in the Greater Bay Area. Mr. Chan is Deputy General Manager of Chimelong Ocean Kingdom, a theme park in Hengqin Island, next door to Macao. The Chinese authorities envisage Hengqin as a draw for tourists, with large-scale attractions to complement Macao’s integrated resorts and tourism spots.

“A proper service mindset is also very important,” Mr. Chan said in an interview. “Frontline [tourism] jobs are tough, but you can’t reach management level without trying frontline positions.”

The executive encouraged fresh industry entrants to try different roles within the Greater Bay Area, in order to advance their respective career prospects. “It is important for people to have a mindset of moving around for their career,” he said.

New source markets

Mr. Chan added he expected the Greater Bay Area project to boost tourism to the places covered by the initiative. “With better infrastructure and more convenient transportation, the region will be able to attract more people from different tourist source markets,” he said.

Ms. Jenny You Meng, General Manager of Madame Tussauds Hong Kong, agreed. “In the past [tourists] regarded Macao, Hong Kong and Guangdong as different destinations,” she said on the sidelines of the MITE panel session. “The Greater Bay Area initiative is turning the region into a brand-new destination for travellers, offering them something fresh.”

Madame Tussauds Hong Kong houses over 100 celebrity wax figures, offering guests the opportunity to experience “the famous home of the famous” and enjoy an intimate and interactive encounter with their favourite artists.

Ms. You suggested that the cities covered by the Greater Bay Area initiative should enhance their communication efforts and better integrate their respective tourism resources in order to develop multi-destination tourism itineraries and products. That, she said, would unlock a lot of opportunities for the region’s tourism industry.

Ms. You advised fresh graduates in tourism-related studies within the Greater Bay Area to work on their communication skills. At the same time, they should be patient regarding career progress, and passionate about work, she said.

The second panel session at MITE hosted by the Alliance for Developing Macao into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Tourism Education and Training Base was themed “Building Successful Careers in the Greater Bay Area”. One of the panellists was IFT alumnus Mr. Johnny Chen. The Guangdong-born professional – who graduated from IFT in 2003 – is Regional Director of Operations at Guangdong/Hubei Starbucks Coffee Co Ltd, overseeing a network of more than 350 outlets.

Mr. Chen was joined on the panel by other young executives working in hospitality and tourism in the Greater Bay Area, to discuss career development in the sector. They all stressed the importance of geographical mobility to grab new opportunities, and of good language and communication skills.

President’s Corner

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