In 2020, UP Campus Tours (UPCT) developed a new initiative which offers tailored interactive virtual tours – University of Pretoria Virtual Campus Tours – Interactive (UPVCT – Interactive). The tours are online and aim to take interested guests on interactive tours of the university from the safety and comfort of their homes. According to the UP website, UPVCT – Interactive’s mission is to share their enthusiasm for UP and its rich past and bright future with guests. These tours are ideal for students and parents with children who are interested in enrolling at UP.
According to the UP website, with the tourism industry stalled due to border closes, restricted services, mandatory social distancing, and a fear of a spike in COVID-19 cases, now is the time to reconfigure tourism, reimagine and reignite it. UPVCT – Interactive, run by a six-member team, is part of the solution.
“The tours are online and aim to take interested guests on interactive tours of the university from the safety and comfort of their homes.“
On their part, lecturers at UP’s Department of Heritage and Cultural Tourism are repositioning what and how they teach undergraduate and postgraduate Heritage and Cultural Tourism degrees. Focusing on pre and post COVID-19 scenarios, students must learn to think cautiously, but creatively. Students are encouraged to understand how regional, continental, national, and local travel destinations have been impacted and how they can adapt.
Interested parties can apply for an interactive tour. After receiving an application for a digital interactive tour, the team creates the tour around individual interests and sets a tour for the agreed date and time. Afterwards, a Zoom App link is sent for the tour. During the tour, a tour guide takes you through the campus, shares information about the university, and answers any questions about UP. The tours are roughly an hour-long, depending on the number of questions asked by the guest.
“Focusing on pre and post COVID-19 scenarios, students must learn to think cautiously, but creatively.“
According to UPVCT- Interactive, one of the pros of an interactive tour is that the human interactive element is present. The guest can ask questions and receive immediate answers while looking their tour guide in the eyes. Another pro is that the UPCT staff can still continue to share their knowledge about the university’s campuses with interested parties. A con of making the tour virtual and interactive is that the time of the tour depends on the guests’ availability. Another being that these virtual tours do not allow the guest a tangible experience of the campus. However, UPVCT-Interactive guides will do everything they can to make the tour as close to tangible as possible.
In July, the 2020 Heritage and Cultural Tourism honours students will be running complimentary UPVCT – Interactive tours, but welcome donations. Prospective students can find more information and make bookings on email@example.com for an interactive and specialised campus tour.
Photo: Cassandra Eardley