Professor Karen Harris, Head of the Department of Historical and Heritage Studies, was invited to speak at the 2020 International Tourist Guide Day Celebrations held at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg.
This is the third time that Prof Harris has been invited by the National Department of Tourism (NDT) to address the annual international event. The theme of this year’s celebrations was “Tourist guides - contributors to sustainable tourism and jobs”.
Prof Harris’ presentation, which was entitled “The future is about seamless travel”, considered the possibilities of tourism in an ever-changing and often extremely challenging environment with obstacles such as long-haul travel, world economic decline and, now especially, pandemics such as the coronavirus.
In the light of these obstacles Prof Harris referred to the importance of developing a southern African brand within the tourism domain which should encourage cross-border tourism focusing on the broader region and not just bordered countries.
Bilateral and multilateral agreements across the region could contribute to seamless travel which was now an expectation within the tourist sector. This she believed could also go a long way to enhance understanding and peace with the SADC region.
Prof Harris also encouraged tourist guides to stop looking only at international tourists and to rather get local South Africans travelling.
The Department of Historical and Heritage Studies is at the forefront of much of this research and presents both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Heritage and Cultural Tourism, one of the few institutions to do so in southern Africa.
Prof Harris addresses 2020 International Tourist Guide Day delegates