Covid-19 impact on future study choices: Will students consider a tourism qualification post the pandemic?


  • Washington Makuzva University of Mpumalanga
  • Gift Muresherwa Cape Peninsula University of Technology



Covid-19 pandemic, curriculum development, Social Learning Theory, qualification choice


The Covid-19 pandemic devastated various industries, with the tourism sector suffering the most. The tourism industry, which relies mainly on the movement of people, was interrupted for several months as governments instituted restrictions and regulations to prevent further spread of the virus. These restrictions put the industry at a standstill, putting much strain on the economy. With businesses closing, many people became unemployed, and those who remained had their salaries and wages reduced. The high unemployment rate in the country, worsened by Covid-19 and other external forces, presented challenges to exit-level tourism students. The current study investigated the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the future of studying towards a tourism management qualification. A qualitative research approach was adopted where the exit-level tourism students at a university of technology were purposively selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. Thematic and constant comparative analysis methods were used to analyse the emerging themes and compare the responses from the participants. The study revealed mixed feelings about the tourism management course. While others regretted enrolling to the tourism program, some remained optimistic that the industry would reopen and recover and present better opportunities for them. Prospective tourism industry staff, particularly tourism management students, have become uncertain about the likelihood of getting job opportunities in the industry. This raises a question about how the pandemic has influenced the future of studying tourism management in higher learning institutions. The study contributes to the understudied phenomenon of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on influencing future enrolments in tourism courses.

Author Biography

Gift Muresherwa, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Gift Muresherwa is an emerging researcher and PhD scholar at the University of Johannesburg. His doctoral study investigates the value of tourism events in growing Zimbabwe’s tourism. Gift is also a lecturer in adventure tourism and tourism development at CPUT. Moreover, he has authored different research papers and participated in several international conferences focusing on event tourism, gorilla tourism and township tourism.