Taylor's University Fosters Regional Cooperation with Tourism Expertise Network

Taylor's University recently played host to a gathering of university representatives from around Southeast Asia in a bid to support the ASEAN 2015 integration.

This event, which resulted in the formation of the ASEAN Tourism Research Network and the proposed ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA), is a landmark effort by the six universities to enhance tourism in the region through research collaborations.

The event saw participation from representatives from the Bandung Institute of Tourism, Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality, Lyceum of the Philippines University, Prince of Songkla University, Hoa Sen University and Taylor's University.

Taylor's University Vice Chancellor & President, Professor Dato' Dr. Hassan Said expressed his hope that the founding members of this network and proposed association would further foster networks and relationships with each other.

"This will enable us to share resources, information and knowledge, conduct research and studies as we grow on each other's strength in building a stronger tourism industry in our region," he added.

Ministry of Tourism and Culture Deputy Secretary General (Tourism Industry) Rashidi Hasbullah, who launched the meeting, said that with the rapid expansion of the tourism sector in this part of the world, partnerships between the public and private sectors should be supported and accelerated to facilitate and enhance the ASEAN network made of universities that specialise in tourism research and that are interested in the ASEAN agenda.

"The formation of proposed ASEAN Tourism Research Association (ATRA) is a good example. This proposed hub will be a platform to provide ASEAN public and private universities with the ability to connect with key researchers in the region to execute studies on tourism trends, regional integration, tourism planning and tourism education," he said.

The one-day meeting also saw the election of the pro-tem committee of the proposed ATRA. Taylor's University deputy vice chancellor Mr Pradeep Nair was named as the President while Taylor's University School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts (TCHT) dean Mr Neethiahnanthan Ari Ragavan was appointed as the Honorary Secretary. The secretariat for this proposed association will be based at TCHT.

As one of the oldest and most established hospitality institutions in the region, TCHT has been focusing on its research initiatives in the past few years and has been receiving numerous local and international grants to conduct industry-related research, the latest being a grant from the European Union.

Through the project, the Environmentally and Socially Responsible Tourism Capacity Development Programme (ESRT) for ASEAN countries, Taylor's University is in the midst of training 60 Vietnamese public sector tourism administrators in four industry-related fields in a few phases over the next two years.