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Sands China and IFTM Sign MOU at Co-organised MICE Symposium

Strengthening collaboration between academia and industry

(Macao, Mar. 15, 2023) – Sands China Ltd. and the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at The Londoner® Macao Wednesday at their co-organised symposium on conventions and exhibitions.

They signed the MOU and held the symposium with the goal of strengthening collaboration between academia and the integrated resort industry. The aim is to help reinforce the development of local MICE talent and the sustainable development of Macao's MICE economy through deepened exchange between academics and professional industry practitioners.

The symposium is the first initiative of the Sands MICE Academy, a new sub-academy of the Sands China Academy. With the establishment of this new sub-academy, Sands China aims to enhance the overall competitiveness of the Greater Bay Area as a preferred international MICE destination by utilising the company's resources, thereby contributing to the nation's economic development.

"The MICE industry is a major pillar of Sands China's business model," said Dr. Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd. "In addition to our current 150,000 square metres of MICE space, we are committed to expanding, improving and optimising the scale and quality of our convention centres and related amenities. This includes the proposed development of a new MICE facility of approximately 18,000 square metres in the coming decade."

"In conjunction with these efforts, we have inaugurated the Sands MICE Academy with the aim to incubate much-needed talent for large-scale meetings and conferences to be hosted in Macao. In the future, Sands China plans to further its cooperation with tertiary institutions to hold professional academic seminars in full support of the Macau SAR government's goal to build Macao into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure, and to promote Macao's moderate economic diversification."

Dr. Fanny Vong, president of IFTM, said: "IFTM and Sands China will use MICE as a platform to leverage the strength of both parties in the academic and industry partnership. The aim is to nurture talents and promote the sustainable development of Macao's tourism industry, in order to achieve moderate economic diversification."

The MOU between Sands China and IFTM affirms their existing cooperation and proposes new ones, such as internships, research, industry-education exchanges, and training and development. These types of collaborations between higher education institutes and the integrated resort industry are crucial for IFTM as the relying unit of the Tourism Education and Training Base for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and serve as an important contribution to the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin.

As part of the strategic MOU, Sands China's senior management team members will deliver lectures at the university as guest lecturers. With an initiative such as this, Sands China hopes to incubate industry elites for the Greater Bay Area through reinforced support to tertiary education in tourism.

As the first project following the establishment of the MOU, Sands China and IFTM co-organised Wednesday's symposium on conventions and exhibitions at The Londoner Macao. The organising committee consisted of staff from Sands China and IFTM, who worked closely together to implement the spirit of the MOU in planning and carrying out the event.

During the event, representatives from the symposium's advisory entities were invited to share their ideas about the status quo and future development of the MICE industry. They were the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI), the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the Macao Convention & Exhibition Association, and the Macau Fair & Trade Association.

The event drew an attendance of 210 participants, including Sands China team members, MICE industry practitioners, and students of local tertiary educational institutions. Symposium sessions included topics such as tourism, conventions and exhibitions, training and development, and sustainability.

The collaboration between Sands China and IFTM is instrumental in their efforts to realise the strategic goals of the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region as outlined in the second Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development (2021-2025) and to support the government's "tourism + MICE" initiative.

As the largest integrated resort operator in Macao, Sands China aims to be a role model for integrated resort development and play a leading role in talent development for the Greater Bay Area via its Sands China Academy. With this in mind, the company is inaugurating six new sub-academies, bringing the total number to eight, in support of Macao's development into a talent incubator for the Greater Bay Area. Sands China is offering these platforms as a way for industry experts to share their experience and knowledge with Sands China team members and with industry practitioners in the Greater Bay Area to foster their growth in various areas.

IFTM launched its Bachelor of Science in Tourism Event Management degree programmes in English and Chinese in 2005 and 2010, respectively. It is one of the most popular programmes at IFTM and is known for its practical components, in which students organise and host live public events. Academic courses are led by a team of scholars active in research, with classes that are informed by cutting-edge research in events in Macao. Faculty members regularly attend international conferences, publish journal articles and book chapters, and engage in consultancy research projects. Tourism Event Management graduates enjoy a very dynamic future, where they are often preferred by the industry and accepted into postgraduate programmes locally and overseas.

Photo caption: Sands China team members, MICE industry practitioners, and students of local tertiary educational institutions participate in a symposium co-organised by Sands China and IFTM on conventions and exhibitions Wednesday at The Londoner Macao. Around 210 attended in total.

Photo caption: Sands China and IFTM sign an MOU Wednesday at The Londoner Macao to affirm their existing cooperation and to propose new ones, with the goal of strengthening collaboration between academia and the integrated resort industry.

Photo caption: Guests of honour officiate the opening ceremony of the MICE symposium Wednesday at The Londoner Macao.

Left to right: Che Fok Sang, director general of the Macau Federal Commercial Association of the Convention & Exhibition Industry; Alan Ho Hoi Ming, president of the Macao Association of Convention, Exhibition and Tourism Sectors; Tony Lam Chong In, president of the Macau Fair & Trade Association; Beverly Tou Chi Iau, head of the Gaming Research and Liaison Department of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau; Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, director of the Macao Government Tourism Office; Dr. Fanny Vong, president of IFTM; Dr. Wilfred Wong, president of Sands China Ltd.; Sun Yaohua, assistant director of the Economic Affairs Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Macao Special Administrative Region; Sam Lei, executive director of the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute; Leong I On, acting head of the Non-Tertiary Education Department of the Education and Youth Development Bureau; Mr. Wong I Mun, chairman of the Association of Advertising Agents of Macau; Irwin Poon Yiu Wing, president the Macao Convention & Exhibition Association.

Photo caption: Sands China Ltd. President Dr. Wilfred Wong delivers his opening remarks at The Londoner Macao Wednesday for the MOU signing with IFTM and their co-organised symposium on conventions and exhibitions.

Photo caption: IFTM president Dr. Fanny Vong delivers her opening remarks at The Londoner Macao Wednesday for the MOU signing with Sands China and their co-organised symposium on conventions and exhibitions.