Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), established in 1995, is a public institution of higher education that falls under the governance of the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture of the Macao Special Administrative Region Government, People’s Republic of China. IFT offers degree and professional programmes in a wide range of tourism-related disciplines such as hospitality, tourism business, heritage, events, retail and marketing, leisure and entertainment, sports and recreation, creative and cultural studies, and culinary arts. IFT also delivers various programmes at the executive level in partnership with leading tourism schools in the world. The Institute is entrusted by the local authorities to conduct policy level research related to tourism planning and development.
The mission of IFT is to become an international tertiary institution of choice for tourism and service industry studies. Not only for the benefits of Macao, but also for the Asia Pacific region, it will equip students with professional knowledge and technical competence in preparation for their future leadership responsibilities in the industry. In order to fulfil the above mission, the Institute has the following three characteristics:
- Unique Identity - The Institute operates independently, specialising in providing higher education and professional training in tourism and service industry management.
- Integration - It blends the best approaches of academic development and professional training.
- Internationalisation - It seeks mutually beneficial cooperation with similar institutions abroad, actively promoting international learning experience among faculty and students.
In 1997, the Network of Asia-Pacific Education and Training Institutes in Tourism (APETIT), a body fully supported by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) selected IFT as the “training the trainer centre” offering training and advisory services for APETIT members in the Asia Pacific region. In the same year, IFT received from the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) the Gold Award in “Education and Training”, which acknowledged the content and the quality of IFT’s programmes. In 2002, IFT was presented, again, with the same award for having set up the “Macao Occupational Skills Recognition System” (MORS) for the local tourism and service industry, in collaboration with the European Union (EU).
In 1999, in cooperation with EU, the Macao-Europe Centre for Advanced Tourism Studies (ME-CATS) was established in the Institute, incorporating new European concepts of tourism and service industry management into the tourism development of the Asia Pacific region. This centre aims at becoming a base for education and training in the Asia Pacific region. It promotes exchange of knowledge and experience between institutes of higher education in Europe and in the region.
In 2000, IFT was the first United Nations World Tourism Organization UNWTO.TedQual institution in tourism education. This confirmed the international standard and quality achieved by IFT in education and training.
In 2003, IFT was invited by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) to be the founding member of the Asian Academy for Heritage Management (AAHM). This consortium networks institutes of higher learning throughout the Asia-Pacific region that are engaged in the research and teaching of heritage conservation and cultural institution management.
“The 2008 Award Ceremony of Medals and Titles of Honour of the Macao SAR Government, People’s Republic of China” was held on 16 January 2009. Forty individuals and organisations were accorded honours and awards for their personal achievements, notable contributions to Macao SAR and their dedicated public and community service. The Institute for Tourism Studies was awarded the Medal of Merit for Tourism in recognition of its significant contributions in advancing local tourism development.
In 2017, IFT became the world’s first higher education institution to pass International Quality Review(IQR) from UK’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education(QAA) and since the launch of QS World University Rankings for the subject area of Hospitality and Leisure Management in 2017, IFT has been highly ranked in the world and throughout Asia.
IFT will continue to strive ahead in its quest of learning and educational innovation, fostering professionals and making contributions to the tourism development of Macao and of the Asia Pacific region.