Linking Portugal and the Greater Bay Area through Collaborative Initiatives, says Secretary Tam
Macao SAR Government and Portugal’s Ministry of Economy sign memorandum of understanding on tourism education
The Government of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) and the Ministry of Economy of the Portuguese Republic signed on 14 May a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation in tourism education, training and research. It aims to promote the co-development of training courses and joint degree programmes, and participation in workshops, seminars and other projects deemed mutually beneficial for both sides. In the future, the programmes can be open to students from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (Greater Bay Area).
The MoU – initially valid for 3 years and renewable – was signed by the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Dr. Alexis Tam Chon Weng, on behalf of the Macao SAR Government; and by Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, Ms. Ana Mendes Godinho. The Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) is to play a cornerstone role – on behalf of the Macao SAR Government – in the implementation of the MoU.
The MoU signing took place during the opening ceremony of a 3-day academic forum in Estoril, Portugal. The event is being co-organised by IFT, the Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies, and Turismo de Portugal I.P. The latter body oversees tourism promotion in Portugal. The forum focuses on the impact on tourism and on education of the Greater Bay Area initiative, a wide-ranging project by the Central Government of the People's Republic of China to advance and integrate development across Macao, Hong Kong and 9 cities from neighbouring Guangdong Province.
Speaking at the forum’s opening ceremony, Secretary Tam pointed out that, as China was entering a new era of development, Macao’s tourism industry was also “welcoming unprecedented opportunities”. Dr. Tam said that the development of the Greater Bay Area – coupled with the “Belt and Road” initiative, in which Portugal was also involved – would “open up a new landscape for regional and international cooperation in tourism and beyond”.
In his speech, Secretary Tam highlighted that Macao had been designated as a “core member” in terms of the development plan of the Greater Bay Area. He added that key regional infrastructure – including the newly-opened Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the expansion of China’s inter-city rail system, and an efficient road network – would “open a new window of opportunities” for Macao to collaborate with counterpart bodies in Guangdong Province and in Hong Kong, in order to offer multi-destination tourism to international tourists.
In addition, Macao would strive “to contribute as one of China’s windows for fostering international collaboration,” said Dr. Tam. He recalled the “long-standing cooperation between Portugal and Macao” in various areas, noting it had particular emphasis on tourism development. Secretary Tam expected that the current academic forum in Portugal on the Greater Bay Area project would provide “inspiring perspectives to shape the future” of the scheme.
IFT plans to continue increasing the level of cooperation between the Institute and higher education institutions and other related bodies in Portugal. This is in line with efforts by the Macao SAR Government to promote the city as a tourism education and training base for the Greater Bay Area and a cooperation platform between China and the Portuguese-speaking countries.View gallery