Students in tourism business visit Mai Po Nature Reserve - Hong Kong

Students in tourism business visit Mai Po Nature Reserve - Hong Kong

29 November 2012

Report by Mathew Cheng, Centre Manager - Mai Po Nature Reserve, WWF-Hong Kong.

To celebrate the Year of Wetland and Tourism for Ramsar WWF-Hong Kong (WWF-HK) co-organised with the Macau’s Institute a site visit for students to experience first-hand how a sustainably-managed wetland can accommodate visitors while at the same time pursuing the goals of conservation. “Mai Po is a good example of a site that maintains an appropriate balance between these two goals, and thus provides an ideal learning platform for my students” Institute for Tourism Studies Assistant Professor, Dr Wantanee Suntikul said.

Early November, over 60 students from the Institute for Tourism Studies of Macau visited Mai Po Nature Reserve (MPNR). MPNR is part of the Mai Po Inner Deep Bay Ramsar Site located in the North West New Territories of Hong Kong. Major in tourism business management and heritage management, the students took a guided tour in the nature reserve to learn more about sustainable tourism practices.

Students birdwatching at MPNR ©Mathew Cheng

Since 1983, WWF-HK has been managing the nature reserve for conservation and biodiversity enhancement. “WWF-HK offers various educational walks, special tours, and workshops to target groups as well as general public in MPNR to support the Convention’s CEPA programme for promotion of the conservation and wise use of wetlands” Mai Po Centre Manager, Mathew Cheng said. “The study trip for Macau students hopefully will help them understand the value of wetlands and motivate them to become advocates for wetland conservation. The activity itself also responds to the strategic objective for MPNR to serve as hub of wetland education in the region.”

Nature Interpreter Szeman Cheung giving the students a guided tour at MPNR ©Andy Leung

After the visit, the students joined a discussion about what they experienced and learned from Mai Po.

Marketing Officer, Andy Leung giving talks to students about public visit programmes at Mai Po ©Wantanee Suntikul

“Macau has lost significant amounts of natural wetland over the past two decades because of land reclamation projects for casinos and other urban development: measures” Wantanee said. “By bringing students to visit MPNR, I hope to raise awareness of ecological issues among young people entering the tourism professions in Macau, so that they can spread this awareness among their peer group, family and friends”.

Centre Manager, Mathew Cheng giving talks to students about eco-tourism practices ©Andy Leung