By Caitlin Erramouspe | Reporter
The tourist industry in Waco took a hit a year ago when COVID-19 shut down state and local businesses. Tourist hot spots became quiet, which meant Waco Tours also had to close their doors until late May of 2020.
A year later, the touring company is beginning to see more and more tourists flocking to Waco.
Melinda Seibert, vice president of development for Waco Tours, said the company went through a lot to get back into the flow of working and welcoming tourists.
When Governor Abbott first reopened businesses to 50% capacity, Waco Tours began their Classic Tours and River Tours again.
“We started back at lower capacity with a very specific safety protocol for the protection of our Waco Tours team and our guests. Tourism was lower throughout our city in 2020, but guests were still making their way to Waco somewhat,” Seibert said.
Seibert said Waco Tours wanted to take every precaution it could when opening their tours.
“[We] participated in the Waco Safe pledge, as we followed all their protocols. We trained our staff for safety, had staff and guests wear masks, socially distanced, and had hand sanitizer available. And of course, we would sanitize our vans/boats after each tour,” Seibert said.
Venable said. “March is always the start of the busy season, so we’ve been real thankful this March things have started to pick up again and things are starting to look more normal. People are doing more travel and the vaccines are making things a little more safer.”
The two types of tours offered are the Classic Tour, which accommodates 12 guests and gives a general Waco overview and the River Cruise, currently ranked as the #1 Boat Tour in North America by USA Today’s 10Best, a sunset cruise for 15 guests on the Brazos and Bosque Rivers.
The recent increase in demand for tours has led to a need for more tour guides.
“We are excited for what’s to come, and we are even preparing for our next round of interviews in a few weeks because we know we need more on our team to meet the overwhelming demand for a Waco Tours experience,” Seibert said.