It’s safe to say that the Covid-19 pandemic is bringing out a lot in people.
Fear, frustration, loneliness, lack of understanding, uncertainty…
I’m sure you could add your share of adjectives to the mix.
For me, it’s been an interesting combination of boredom, restlessness, impatience, itchy feet to travel again, appreciation for my current living situation and my city, but also the desire to quit my job (twice) and to change field completely.
All in all, one heck of a ride.
The same can be said for Sandra, a registered tour guide in Zurich, whose job fell victim to the travel restrictions in March 2020.
In her case, one of the things the pandemic brought out was creativity. After the number of clients basically dropped down to zero, she decided to move her business online by creating a platform called Virtual City Tours.
After all, just because you can’t travel to a place doesn’t mean you can’t visit it… If you know what I mean.
Introducing Virtual City Tours
Knowing Zurich like the back of her hand, Sandra created a virtual city tour through Switzerland’s largest city. For roughly 13 minutes, you’ll follow her to the city’s main hotspots and learn about Zurich’s history, sights and culture. Without having to climb up and down all those stairs in the process.
She isn’t sparing with interesting facts, either. Or did you know that:
- you can find over 1.200 public fountains with perfectly fresh drinking water in Zurich?
- the women of the 17th century were responsible for those beautiful bay windows decorating the old town?
- for over 700 years, Zurich’s most powerful and influential person was a woman?
What impresses me most about this virtual Best of Zurich tour is the quality of the video material. You can tell it’s been filmed by a professional videographer and that Sandra knows what she’s doing. This is what sets her above the crowd with all the holiday content that gets published on Youtube.
(No offence, dear Youtubers. But you’ve got yourself some serious competition here.)
How to join a virtual city tour
So far, the platform hosts tours in three Swiss cities – Zurich, Lucerne and Basel. All of them roughly taking 15 minutes and available in Swiss German, German or English.
Once you purchase your link for an affordable 3.50 CHF, you get taken to the main page of your tour.
Apart from the video with the actual guided tour, this page also contains a map highlighting all the spots you’ll visit, a list of additional interesting links and a downloadable PDF file with a brief outline of the tour.
Once you activate your link, you then have 24 hours to set out on your virtual adventure. Within this timeframe, you can take the tour as many times as you like and even watch it in different languages.
If you’re curious to find out what Swiss German – or the Zurich dialect, to be more precise – actually sounds like, this is your chance.
(By the way, if you’d like to know more about Switzerland and its languages, I might just have something for you to still your thirst for knowledge.)
What the future holds for Virtual City Tours
Having laid the foundation for her business with virtual tours through Zurich, Lucerne and Basel in 2020, Sandra is by no means settling for just three destinations. The Virtual City Tours team are planning on adding more Swiss cities to the menu, while their main focus lies on the global market.
Who knows, by the end of 2021, you might be able to join professionally designed and guided city tours all over Europe and the world.
Although I sincerely hope we won’t be confined to our own national borders for another year, I have no doubt that Sandra’s concept is hitting a nerve. I believe it has great potential to change the way people choose their destinations and prepare for their future travels.
I know that, as soon as they offer tours to destinations I’m planning on visiting, I’ll be the first to jump on a tour.
What’s your take on this concept? Is this something that might help you plan your future trips or get you over the current state of travel blues? Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.