Creating Future ASEAN Tourism Leaders - Filipino and Malaysian Youth Exchange Students Visit Taylor's University

A joint-initiative of The Philippines and Malaysian government has seen students from both countries brought together to better understand the opportunities and challenges in each country, and to find ways to further integrate tourism across the ASEAN region.

Taylor's University recently received a joint Filipino-Malaysian youth delegation – comprising of 12 students, 2 government officials and 6 lecturers from the Philippines as well as 14 students, 4 government officials and 3 lecturers drawn from around from Malaysia. This visit was part of the Malaysia-Philippines Bilateral Tourism Youth Exchange. This programme has been developed to encourage a better understanding of tourism issues within the ASEAN region, and has been jointly piloted by the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and the Philippines Department of Tourism (PDOT).

The Malaysian students also came from various institutions such as the University Utara (UUM) and University Putra Malaysia (UPM) as well as from Taylor's University. The Filipino students came from Far Eastern University (FEU), Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) and also the University of Santo Tomas (USA) – which all happen to be partners of Taylor's University. The programme not only aims to educate future tourism leaders about the realities of tourism in ASEAN, but also is also challenging them to find collaborative ways to for Malaysia and The Philippines to work together to grow tourism.

As the initial aim is to gain a much better understanding of the issues relating to developing ASEAN-related tourism in both countries, the students travelled together around Malaysia for 10-days, and then spent a further 10-days together in The Philippines. Assoc. Professor Frederic Bouchon, Associate Dean International for the School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts said that, "Taylor's University has played a leading role in linking Tourism Higher Education Institutions in the region with the creation of ATRA - the ASEAN Tourism Research Association". He also mentioned the many, "collaborations that have already occurred between Taylor's University and various universities in the Philippines –and specifically with our friends at FEU, LPU and UST".

The activities for the visiting group were organised by the Taylor's PATA student chapter (better known as the PATAns), and one of them Wong Chee Meng Wayne had also been selected to participate to represent TU in the exchange with the Filipino students. He not only went with the group around Malaysia, but also travelled to the Philippines at the end of November. He said "We learned a lot about the way tourism is administrated in both countries, and we reflected on how it can be improved as young future tourism leaders". To find out more about the Taylor's School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Arts click here.