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Highland bus tours offer the Wow factor in spite of Covid impact

By Gregor White

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WOW Scotland director Gordon Pearson. Picture: Gary Anthony
WOW Scotland director Gordon Pearson. Picture: Gary Anthony

A coach tour operator wants to be the driving force for families and small groups who want a special visit to the Highlands.

Gordon Pearson, from WOW Scotland Tours, said the company has bought a new luxury bus to allow smaller groups to enjoy being together while exploring the area.

While the tourism market for coach tours has all but disappeared due to the lack of international visitors during Covid restrictions, Mr Pearson has decided not to put his foot on the brakes.

He said: “There is no doubting that the last year was incredibly tough for many tour operators.

“We have relied on an international market for our tours, and due to Covid-19 restrictions our trade fell from 284 days of trading in 2019, to 30 days in 2020.

“Of our passengers, 90 per cent were international customers. Well they are simply not here any more, so to survive we need to explore different avenues.”

Mr Pearson has invested in a 16-seater minibus that has features that he believes makes it “unique” in the area.

He said: “I have never seen a nicer bus in the Highlands. It has a full panoramic view so visitors can not only see the beauty around them they can see up into the sky as well.

“Because of social distancing we are limited to about nine people on the bus.

“I hope people will use the bus for family trips, for golf trips or just a group who want to take a special day out with friends.

“We have put everything into this spectacular vehicle and we hope that people in the Highlands will respond.”

He added: “Last year we had a few people from the Highlands join us on our trips, and we just love it when they come on a tour. They get to see their homeland in a whole new way. We want people to fall in love with where we live. We can run one of our amazing tours, or people can build their own day.

“We have started a new trip to the Fairy Pools on Skye. We drop our visitors at one end and we pick them up, after a 10k hike, and bring them back.

“We have also started a Glencoe and Harry Potter tour where we go to see the Hogwarts train come over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.

“We also do a trip that allows people to take in Orkney on a day trip.”

Mr Pearson also runs a special WOW Whisky Tour that takes visitors off the beaten track to spend time immersed in “the water of life”.

The tour visits Glen Moray, the Speyside Cooperage, Glen Farclas Distillery and Tomatin.

He added: “Or people might want to hire us to go to a wedding or other event, we are here to make any event as special as we can.”

For more, visit www.wowscotlandtours.com

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