In order to engender the destination branding of Macau as a world tourism leisure center, to promote Macao as a cultural exchange base in which Chinese culture is the focal point while other cultures co-exist, as well as to activate the synergetic effect induced by the combination of education and cultural tourism, an international symposium entitled, “Hospitality and Tourism Education Symposium: Forward Looking into Hospitality and Tourism Education - Prospects and Challenges” was organized by the Macao Polytechnic University. It was co-organized by the Cultural Bureau of the Macao SAR Government, and supported by the Macao Government Tourism Office and the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education. The symposium took place from November 23 to 24 at the Macau Polytechnic University; scholars and experts from around the world in the fields of sports, leisure, cultural tourism, and education attended the symposium to explore the future development of cultural tourism and tourism education.
The opening ceremony of the symposium was held on November 23 at the Macao Polytechnic University and was officiated by Mr. Cheang Kai Meng, the Deputy Director of the Cultural Bureau of the Macao SAR Government; Mr. Hoi Io Meng, the Deputy Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office of the Macao SAR Government; Dr. Vivian Lei, the Vice-Rector of Macao Polytechnic University; Professor Chris Ryan from the University of Waikato, New Zealand; Professor Bob McKercher from the University of Queensland, Australia; Professor Po-Ju Chen from the Texas A&M University, U.S.A.; and Dr. Cora Un In Wong, the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences of Macao Polytechnic University.
At the opening ceremony, the Vice-Rector of Macao Polytechnic University, Dr. Vivian Lei stated that in order to help diversify the economic development as well as contribute to the vision of building “One Center, One Platform, One Base” in Macao, the University has been providing bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. In addition, the University has nurtured a large number of outstanding talents to work in the field of cultural tourism and tourism education. By organizing this academic event, it is expected that the symposium will provide a platform for unearthing the research hotspots and frontier trends and themes in tourism education as well as engendering global academic exchanges and collaborations.
The first keynote speaker, Professor Chris Ryan from the University of Waikato, New Zealand, was the founding editor and the executive editor of two renowned academic journals, Tourism Management and Tourism Management Perspectives. He is currently the editor of Tourism Critiques: Practice and Theory. His keynote speech highlighted the new challenges that the tourism industry would be facing in the next decade as well as the evolving needs of consumers; all those changes would be consequential to contemporary education. Professor Ryan suggested that future tourism education should focus on enhancing students’ soft skills so that our graduates are capable of providing better experiences that will suit the needs of the hospitality and tourism industry.
The second keynote speaker, Professor Bob McKercher, is Professor of Tourism Studies at the University of Queensland, Australia, and serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors at the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. With over thirty years of experience in tourism management and education, Professor McKercher emphasized that, in light of social and technological evolution, contemporary tourism educators and researchers should rethink how to produce the all-rounded talents that are wanted by employers in the industry.
The third keynote speaker, Professor Po-Ju Chen, is Professor in the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Texas A&M University in the United States of America. She is also the Co-Executive Editor of the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Education. Professor Chen highlighted the role of artificial intelligence in hospitality and tourism education research. She furthermore articulated the academic prospects and challenges that were associated with adopting artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) system tools in academic writing.
A special issue of the “Hospitality and Tourism Education Symposium: Forward Looking into Hospitality and Tourism Education - Prospects and Challenges” is supported by the ICHRIElisted journal, the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Education (JHTE), which is published by Taylor & Francis Group. The main themes of the concurrent sessions of the symposium revolved around cultural tourism and tourism education, including the reformation of tourism education, study curriculum and assessment mechanisms; applications of techno-blended pedagogies in hospitality and tourism education; the impacts of robotics and artificial intelligence technology on tourists’ behavior; and the implications of an ageing population for tourism and hospitality products and services. Particular attention was devoted to the future of tourism education, sustainable tourism development and emergent forms of tourism, such as study tours and new experiential pedagogies. Last but not least, the best papers awards were announced and presented to the research teams during the symposium.