WILTON, CT — It’s a sign of good things to come for Tauck, which recently completed its first tour departures since the outbreak of COVID-19 last spring.
The company’s initial ‘Wonderland: Yellowstone in Winter’ itineraries, which are part of Tauck’s ‘Ken Burns American Journeys’ collection, operated with comprehensive health and safety protocols. Additional departures of the eight-day Montana and Wyoming national parks tour are scheduled for February.
According to CEO Dan Mahar, the resumption of the Yellowstone tours follows considerable preparation.
“Tauck is a family-owned and operated company and for 96 years the safety and well-being of our guests have been our very highest priorities,” he said “We’re thrilled to once again be welcoming guests to Yellowstone and we’re confident in doing so thanks to the care, thought and planning that we’ve invested in our return to travel.”
While Mahar declined to speculate on when Tauck would fully resume operations, he was decidedly upbeat about the future.
“Well over 60% of our 2021 capacity is already reserved. We’re poised and ready for the upcoming year and we continue to look ahead with great optimism as reservations are coming in for 2022 and even 2023,” he said. “As a 96-year-old company, we’ve endured many, many challenges before and without exception, every downturn or disruption has fuelled huge pent-up demand. We know that our guests can’t wait to travel with us and we’ll be ready to host them when the time is right.”
Mahar also noted that safety protocols have been implemented across all of Tauck’s 2021 tours and cruises. These include mandatory use of masks, social distancing wherever possible, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures developed in close cooperation with its hoteliers, restaurateurs, transportation companies and other partners. In addition, Tauck is requiring each guest to complete the sign its ‘Travel Well Pledge,’ a health screening form that confirms guests have tested negative for COVID-19 within five days of departure, are free of virus-related symptoms and have not been in close contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Feedback from Yellowstone travellers, which was collected post-trip, were overwhelmingly positive, says Jeremy Palmer, Senior Vice President for Tauck Land Journeys.
“Even with our robust COVID-19 precautions, our guest satisfaction scores for ‘Yellowstone in Winter’ have been consistent with our tour scores from prior years,” said Palmer. “It’s clear that we’re fully capable of delivering a Tauck-level experience while remaining diligent about our guests’ health and safety.
“While it’s impossible to totally remove all risk, our guests understand that we’re going to incredible lengths to keep everyone safe and healthy, and that knowledge is allowing everyone to relax, totally engage in the experience and enjoy these beautiful national parks at this magical time of year.”
Tauck’s ‘Ken Burns American Journeys’ collection, of which the Yellowstone itineraries are part of, is offered in cooperation with the acclaimed filmmaker Ken Burns and his long-time collaborator Dayton Duncan. Tauck’s partnership with Burns and Duncan is more than a decade old and encompasses more than 15 itineraries; ‘Yellowstone in Winter’ was the very first journey that the two filmmakers insisted on including in the portfolio.
Each departure of ‘Yellowstone in Winter’ is limited to a maximum of just 24 guests and spends four days inside Yellowstone National Park. The itinerary also visits Grand Teton National Park and features an overnight at the Chico Hot Springs Resort plus two nights at The Wort Hotel in Jackson, Wyoming.
For those who wish to travel in their own personal bubble of family and friend, Tauck is now offering Private Departures on more than 70 land journeys spanning its Exotics, Europe, North America and Tauck Bridges family travel collections. These departures are available to groups as small as 10 and are particularly appealing in the COVID era. As such, Private Departure bookings are currently up 79% from the same time a year ago.