In summary, here is what we are doing differently;
- Capacity significantly reduced onboard. Our vehicles are designed to take 33 but capacity will be capped at around 12 – 19, which is around a 50% reduction in guests. The exact number on any given day will depend on the make up of the group (see below for more details)
- We have reconfigured our seats to ensure at least one metre social distance between each group.
- Fresh air ventilation throughout journey
- Hand sanitiser station onboard
- Enhanced cleaning regime (both during the tour and post-tour)
- Single travellers are guaranteed to be seated by themselves
- Reduction in staff members so there is just one onboard at any time, to increase social distancing
- Staggered boarding and alighting during the tour to minimise close contact between groups
- Hotel pick-up, from The Kingsmills, the Drumossie, Premier Inn East, Premier Inn Millburn Road, Jury’s Inn, Heathmount/Corriegarth, Craigmonie and Columba/Palace/Strathness/surrounding B&Bs to reduce the number of passengers boarding at the bus station
- Typically 24 – 48 hours between tours (under most circumstances, the amount of infectious virus on any contaminated surfaces is likely to have decreased significantly by 24 hours, and even more so by 48 hours. source – UK Government)
- As per Scottish government law on public transport, you need to bring and wear a face mask during your tour. For the comfort of all passengers the wearing of a mask is now a condition of carriage for us. We understand that there are medical exemptions where you are not legally required to wear a face mask. In this scenario we are still able to welcome you on the tour if you use of a face shield, to keep our staff, and the rest of our passengers, safe. Please contact us if you have any queries.
Every measure was in place to make us feel safe and comfortable without compromising the joy of the day. This tour is a must. TripAdvisor review of first tour after re-opening post lockdown
Tours on offer
In September we are offering our Ultimate Isle of Skye Tour three days per week. In October it will run once a week, and year-round it also runs on a private basis by request. We are also available for other private mini-coach tours, and walking tours of Inverness.
Our Whisky Bus and our Whisky & Castle Tour will not run again in 2020, as most distilleries are still closed.
We had planned to run our Orkney Day Tour but have now been forced to cancel all departures as Northlink Ferries have cancelled all of our bookings, with no explanation given. We have raised this with the relevant tourism bodies and local politicians but, unfortunately, we have no solution for this year. This tour will run again in 2021.
Our spacious vehicles
Our 28 and 30 seater mini-coaches already offered the most leg room per passenger of any tour from Inverness (partly because the vehicles were built to accommodate 33 passengers, but we took seats out and reduced the boot capacity to enable even more space per seat).
We have now reduced our capacity by over 50% in order to adhere to 1 metre social distancing guidelines on public transport. Seating will be allocated by bubble groups. If you are travelling with someone but you are maintaining social distancing with them please talk to us before booking . The maximum number per tour depends on how many singles, couples and larger groups we have on-board. We have reduced our capacity from 7 rows of seats, to just 5, and each row can seat either 2 + 1 (i.e a couple plus a solo traveller or a triple) or 2 + 2 (a group of 4).
We’ve always prided ourselves on having the most legroom and personal space of any tour from Inverness, and now every guest has even more space, with everyone guaranteed to have one metre between them and any other traveller, and single travellers guaranteed two seats! Our vehicles are significantly more spacious than the smaller 16 seater vehicles used by most of our competitors.
Cleaning and hygiene protocols
Our cleaning regimes were already of the highest standards, with a full ‘deep clean’ already being carried out every evening. Cleaning en-route has always been an integral part of what we do although this will now be enhanced to ensure, “touch points”, such as handrails, are cleaned regularly.
We have always offered hand sanitiser onboard, but the use of this will now be actively encouraged.
We will also be implementing safe boarding practices.
At the moment we will only be able to operate with one member of staff onboard. Your guides initially will be limited to WOW Scotland founder Gordon Pearson, and Rob Carr. Rest assured, you’ll be in the very safe (and knowledgeable) hands.
The wellbeing of our guests and staff is paramount so, as with everything we do at WOW Scotland, you can rest assured that we will go above and beyond to ensure that our guests enjoy the ultimate tour experience in complete safety and comfort.
We currently have our Ultimate Skye Tour and most Invergordon shore tours on sale for 2021. We hope to have our other tours available for booking in late 2020 (this has been pushed back from July/Aug due to continuing uncertainty regarding operating conditions next year in light of the pandemic). Please check our website, or send an email to [email protected] if you wish to be updated when our 2021 tours are for sale.
Scotland is currently in Phase 3 (of 4) of our route map out of lockdown, with most attractions and businesses now being open. For further information about each phase please take a look at the Scottish Government’s website here.
Regardless if you choose to tour with us this year, or if you have decided to wait until next year, please follow us on Facebook or Instagram for inspiration.
We very much look forward to welcoming you to the Highlands very soon.