IFTM Online Training Program in collaboration with UNWTO Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism through Festivals and Events

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MACAU, June 13 – The Global Tourism Education and Training Center of the Macao Institute of Tourism Studies (IFTM), in collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), successfully organized virtually its thirteenth training program from May 24-26, 2022 on “Capacity Building for Sustainable Tourism through Festivals and Events”.

This training program has been specially designed for decision-makers from ministries and administrations of UNWTO Member States in Asia and the Pacific, as well as for participants from the Guangdong-Hong-Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Forty-one participants from sixteen Member States attended, namely Bangladesh, Brunei, DPR Korea, Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Macau SAR, as well as while thirteen participants from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area participated in the program. The training also caught the attention of an audience of observers from Australia, Bangladesh, Spain, Thailand, Mainland China and the Macao SAR.

Given the diversity of festivals and events, many authorities around the world have turned them into innate resources that enrich and diversify a destination’s tourism portfolio, creating a unique destination proposition. These events provide an invaluable alternative for tourists and, just as importantly, as catalysts for economic, social and environmental development, potentially contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). For the first time in the IFTM-UNWTO collaboration, the three-day webinars focused on themes such as: events and communities; encompassing cultural festivals to sporting fixtures; and from tourist events to community celebrations.

On day one, Professor Greg Richards from Tilburg University, the Netherlands, opened the three-day course with an overview of using festivals and events as innate resources in destinations. Ms. Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macau Government Tourism Board briefed the participants on Macau’s efforts to utilize festivals and events as part of Macau’s tourism portfolio. On day two, Professor Richard Shipway from Bournemouth University, UK, discussed the variety of sporting events and their role in communities and on the global stage. Mr. Jairo Calañgi of MR.J Sports and Entertainment Events Planning Company, a local business in Macau, shared with the participants his continuous efforts to develop Macau’s sports culture and how to use sports events for communities as viable sources of income. . On day three, Professor Judith Mair from the University of Queensland provided insightful insight into sustainability in events, in particular how events contribute to the UN SDGs. Dr. Ubaldino Couto from the Macau Institute of Tourism Studies discussed drivers and barriers to greening events, as well as UNWTO Program Officer Mr. Julian Michel who shared some interesting closing thoughts three-day training.

In the opening speech, Mr. Harry Hwang, Director of the Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO, and Dr. Fanny Vong, President of the Macao Institute of Tourism Studies, highlighted the importance of festivals and events in a destination’s tourism product offering, and their potential to develop as tourism products and vehicles for sustainable development. Professor John Ap, Director of the Global Center for Tourism Education and Training at the Macao Institute of Tourism Studies added that this topic offers an important angle of sustainable tourism development and its relevance in building capital. human, which is an important objective of the collaboration between IFTM and UNWTO.

The lively discussions between speakers and participants over the three days of activities created an invaluable learning platform for all, filled with many insightful and thought-provoking comments and questions. Feedback received from participants has been very positive, with many commenting that the training has provided invaluable insight into festivals and events, leading to their careful consideration of sustainability in their destinations’ tourism resource planning. Mr. Seyed Sajad Mokhtari Hosseini from Iran welcomed that “the content of this training has had a beneficial effect on my mentality regarding the relationship between events and the sustainability of tourist destinations”. Mr. Abid Hussain from Pakistan added that “The main takeaway for me about this program is to involve local communities in different activities, to showcase a unique culture at events, to protect and preserve indigenous cultures”. Sophie Yu from China appreciated the speakers for their insightful presentations and said that the training program, “very inspiring, deeply impressed with the knowledge shared by all experienced presenters”.

The Global Tourism Education and Training Center was established in 2016 following a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Macau SAR Government and UNWTO. The agreement covered topics such as improving human capital for the tourism industry and promoting sustainable tourism. The Center hosted more than 37 programs, including 13 in collaboration with UNWTO, 20 for Portuguese-speaking countries, and 4 executive development programs and other training activities, with approximately 578 participants from 37 countries and regions who participated in the Centre’s activities. training activities.

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