Florida International University plans degree program in Macau
By Rachel Tannenbaum
Florida International University plans a hospitality management degree program in China's Macau to train managers for hotels serving the 500,000-resident, gambling-dependent region's 33 casinos.
It expects to launch jointly with City University of Macau in two to three years. It signed a memorandum of understanding in December.
Gambling alone contributed to almost 70% of Macau's GDP in 2009, according to the US Department of State. Macau gaming revenues now total US $23.5 billion, a 57.8% surge from 2009.
"The gambling is six times larger in Macau than in Las Vegas and they are still building," said Mike Hampton, dean of FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism.
Since 2006, FIU has had a hospitality and tourism management program at China's Tianjin University of Commerce. Dr. Hampton said the Macau program is largely modeled on the Tianjin program, which has over 1,000 students and graduated 340 last spring.
In Macau, "we hope to start small, then grow to about 200 to 300 students," he said.
During the Tianjin launch, at least five FIU professors went to China each year. Dr. Hampton said the Macau program will be the same, with a blend between American and Chinese teachers.
FIU didn't have to overcome hurdles expanding into Macau, he said, although it's one of the world's biggest gambling industries.
"We have always dealt with gambling at FIU. It is part of the South Florida economy — it is a component," he said. "It will complement what we do."
Many parts of Southeast Asia, like Malaysia and Singapore, offer gambling, said Dr. Hampton, and South Florida can help these countries be successful with the impact from tourism.
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