“The Ecotourism Interpretation Webinar and field guiding activities event has opened doors for students in various field,” said the DUT Midlands Ecotourism lecturer, Philisiwe Mchunu during the third Ecotourism Interpretation event recently held at DUT’s Riverside Campus, in Pietermaritzburg on Microsoft team.
She further explained that the event has assisted students to unlock and explore their potential and understanding of active learning. Mchunu indicated that this event plays a significant role in educating students about the importance of collaboration, adding that this kind of learning is obtained through field trips which are very costly and the event makes it cost-effective.
The event was hosted in collaboration with Pietermaritzburg Tourism, Your Water, South African Blood Service, Karkloof Canopy Tours, Mugg and Bean, DUT Midlands Entrepreneurship Centre, Ushaka Sea World, Chrysalis Nature College, Independent Field Guide: Ngcebo Mlambo, KwaZulu-Natal Amafa and Research Institute.
The first day of the event kick started with a webinar engagement focusing on the Special Interest Tourism (SIT) areas which included Adventure Tourism, Astronomy, Birding, Cultural Tourism, Geology, Marine Tourism and Rock Art which were covered by stakeholders from various organisations.
The second day of the event included a stand exhibition, a camp setup, survival skills training, constellation orientation, bird identification and tracking skills activities.
The Kwazulu-Natal Research Institute, Senior Rock Art Officer, Celeste Rossouw explained that they chose to collaborate with the DUT Ecotourism Department to improve marketing and sustainable tourism management in protected areas, and ensure that students be updated about Eco-tourism research and officially apply it at open heritage sites managed by the KwaZulu-Natal Amafa and Research Institute.
“It was such a great honour to be part of the event and the students are so passionate, they listened attentively and participated during the presentations. I am looking forward to more of such events,” she added.
Mbalizethu Miya, third-year Ecotourism student expressed her happiness for participating and winning second place position with her team for best exhibition category during the awards.
“The event was such an eye-opener for me as I had a perception that we are only limited to working at Nature Reserves. On the first day of the event, one of guest speakers taught us about the different field expertise and job opportunities which I had no knowledge about. I have also improved on some of my skills which includes being a good team player since we were required to work in pairs to complete the activities,” she said.
On day three, the last day of the event students received gifts and certificates of participation.
Pictured: DUT Ecotourism students receiving their gifts.