Mei 18, 2024

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UTM-SYSU Academic Exchange Programme 2024: A Leap Forward in Ecotourism Education and Collaboration

The Urban and Regional Planning programme of the Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying (FABU) at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) completed its second academic exchange with Sun Yat-sen University’s (SYSU) School of Tourism Management on January 21st and 22nd, 2024. This event symbolised the growing partnership between the two institutions in the field of ecotourism research and education. Dr. Nadzirah Hosen and Dr. Keng Hang Frankie Fan, who have been friends and collaborators since meeting as postgraduate students in 2015, led the programme. Last year’s inaugural programme welcomed six students, while this year’s exchange saw a significant increase, with 32 students from SYSU and 16 from UTM.

The programme commenced with a warm welcome for the SYSU delegation, followed by a tour of the UTM campus. On the first day, one of the key highlights was the UTM-SYSU discussion on tourism research. The session was headed by Prof. Amran Hamzah, with members of the Tourism Planning Research Group (TPRG) led by Prof. Hairul Nizam Ismail. The participation of Prof. Xu Honggang, the Dean of the School of Tourism Management at SYSU, and her team further enriched the discussion. Adding to the discourse, Associate Prof. Dr. Siti Hajar Misnan, the head of the programme, also participated, bringing valuable insights to the discussion. At the same time, a workshop was conducted for students, that aimed to develop ecotourism products in Malaysia specifically for the Chinese market.

The UTM-SYSU Academic Exchange Programme 2024 held a series of insightful sessions from leading experts the following day. Prof. Amran Hamzah presented “Regenerative Tourism: Just Another Buzzword?” while Prof. Xu Honggang discussed a topic on “Situated Elephant Tourism in Asia.” The programme’s highlight was the award ceremony, which celebrated students’ achievements in creating a winning ecotourism product proposal. Attendees also experienced local ecotourism firsthand through a mangrove tour and craft making at Kampung Sungai Melayu. In conclusion, this academic exchange programme marks a watershed moment in ecotourism education, serving as a model for future international academic collaboration. The initiative emphasises the importance of global collaboration in advancing sustainable tourism practices and educational excellence by encouraging a rich exchange of knowledge and ideas.

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