ATLAS hosts UPCT international webinar

Posted on December 10, 2020

On 2 December 2020 the University of Pretoria Campus Tours (UPCT) team presented an international webinar hosted by the Association for Tourism and Leisure Education and Research (ATLAS). The theme of the webinar was “University of Pretoria Campus Tours – Before, During and After COVID-19” and was opened by the President of ATLAS, Dr Tara Duncan, from Dalarna University, Sweden. 

In this virtual event the UPCT 2020 team presented an overview of the origin and development of Heritage and Cultural Tourism at the University of Pretoria (UP), along with the introduction of UPCT, an initiative formulated by Professor Karen Harris, Head of Department and UPCT coordinator, as a practical component for the Heritage and Cultural Tourism honours degree some eighteen years ago.

The webinar also outlined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UPCT 2020 and how it was a catalyst for its members to become both creative and innovative in a sector that has become one of the hardest-hit globally. 

Under the guidance and mentoring of Professor Harris this resulted in the formation of University of Pretoria Virtual Campus Tours - Interactive (UPVCT – Interactive). The UPCT team also discussed the various initiatives they developed and how they were able to continue with personalised interactive tours on a virtual platform despite the pandemic. This included individual tours for prospective students across the country who, in the safety of their homes, could go on a virtual tour with a UPVCT tourist guide (in her home) while being able to ask “real time” questions about their customised tour. Later, under Lockdown 1, UPVCT was granted UP Executive permission to take “bubble tours” – single families on tours on campus adhering to COVID-19 regulations. 

The webinar wrapped up with a presentation on the future of UPCT and how the lessons learnt and innovations developed could also be of use to the broader travel and tourism sectors globally.  Participants were also shown how the future of tourism remains bright in Africa, despite the devastation caused by COVID-19.

Over 150 people from 14 countries registered to virtually attend the Zoom webinar which was also live streamed on YouTube with statistics that exceeded 130.

The webinar also inspired excellent feedback on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, with one lecturer from Lincoln University in the United Kingdom commenting:  “Very inspiring all!! Can’t wait to tell my students here in Lincoln UK all about your work!”

From left to right: Nompilo Molaqa, Jabu Ntuli, Noelien Wilsnach, Sindiswa Gubula, Nusrat Goolam Mahomed and Siobhan Jansen Van Vuuren.


- Author Noelien Wilsnach
Published by Ian Macqueen

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