Our sincere respect and thank you goes out to all businesses and staff in essential services that are still on the front lines, including workers in emergency services, health care, government, grocery stores and pharmacies.
For the protection of all, the British Columbia government has banned meetings of over 50 people and asked people to stay at home as much as possible.
We have suspended all tours & transportation services until BCCDC and Interior Health state that it's again safe to enjoy leisure activities around other people. It's our hope this will be in early April. If you are concerned about a booking you have with us, please call us to discuss it. Thanks for your understanding.
For now, please follow the health guidelines including staying home as much as possible and self-isolating for minimum 14 days after returning from out of the country travel.
We are fortunate in the Okanagan Valley to be inland, away from major cities, and have plenty of wide open space. Going outside, while staying away from other people, is within the recommended guidelines.
Follow these links for health advisories in Canada and British Columbia:
BC Interior Health
BC Centre for Disease Control
World Health Organization
We created Ogopogo Tours five years ago to offer high-quality, small group sightseeing & wine tours to the Okanagan-Similkameen. Our business has continued through province-wide state of emergencies, nearby wildfires & floods. In times of caution like this, small businesses need & appreciate your patronage.
We are still working from home while in self-isolation and happy to discuss your future plans with you, including taking bookings, though not accepting payment until we are certain that your booking can proceed. Once we begin touring again, we will be taking precautionary measures to limit spread of this virus while protecting our guests, staff & community. Here's what we'll doing...
On your tour:
- Enhanced cleaning of vehicles between tours, office & our mobile devices
- Reducing rates for private tours, where you have a private vehicle & guide for only the people you came with
- Training staff & guests how to wash their hands thoroughly, with warm/hot water, for 20 seconds minimum
- Advising guests to wash their hands before & after tour, before & after meal stops, and at every venue we visit
- Providing either paper towels or microfibre cloths to dry hands, microfibre is used once, then washed in clothes dryer in HOT water
- Mandatory hand sanitizing before entering vehicles (if not freshly washed), either with commercial sanitizer (while available), or with blend of alcohol, aloe vera gel and tea tree oil
- Providing cleaning swabs to sanitize your mobile device
- High touch areas like door handles and support bars will be sanitized frequently throughout your tour
- All tours & services require advance registration, to maintain small group sizes and staffing ratios
- Reducing maximum group sizes for shared tours
- Splitting large groups on private tours into multiple vehicles, smaller groups also enhances each guest's experience at each stop
- Continuing for focus primarily on small, boutique, family run, off-the-beaten-path wineries & venues
- Favouring wineries & venues implementing enhanced cleaning and bio-security procedures
- Extending generous date-change and cancellation terms
- Strongly recommending optional cancellation insurance, for a nominal fee of 3%, allowing full refunds (less the insurance fee) until a minimum of 24 hours prior to your tour's departure
- Change the date, or convert your booking into a non-expiring transferable gift certificate, at any time for any reason, with no additional fee
- If you are unwell within 24 hours of the tour, reach out to us and we will happily move you to another date, free of charge
With our staff:
- One of our staff could be considered at risk due to long term respiratory problems, so extreme measures are being taken in the office
- Limiting staff's person-to-person contact, we planned to have our staff develop a secret handshake this year, but now it's a smile or a "Live Long & Prosper"
- Working from home is being implemented where feasible
- Guides & other staff will be hand-washing when entering or leaving our office, plus at each stop
- When picking up at accommodations, guides will not go inside unless necessary, we are in text or phone contact with most of our guests
- Continue our policy of employing guides and providing gainful employment as a Certified Living Wage Employer
- Guides receive 4% vacation pay & performance based season end bonuses
With our business:
- Continue to support community by donating 10% of our gross revenue to local charities
- Continue to fund micro-loans to farmers in developing nations, primarily women producing organic food or installing solar water pumps
- Consult with experts, consultants, governments, our industry worldwide and the venues we stop at, sharing strategies, precaution steps and supplier info
- Reduce or even cease tours if that's what's required to protect public health
We will re-start touring once it's deemed safe!
With events being cancelled, we're acutely aware that visitors to our region are having their trip affected, and untold numbers of Canadians are cancelling their international travel plans, to enjoy "Stay-cations" and explore their own back yard. In an industry filled with large events, attractions and 50-seater bus tours, we recognize that our group sizes (average of 7 on our shared tours) are one of the safer options to get out and discover our scenery, cities, wineries & other venues. We think our guests, team & community are better served by focusing on small group activities in the region.
While we keep a close eye on the evolving situation, we will soon be again providing a fun and reasonably safe outlet for enjoying some fresh air and discovering the Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, and Southern British Columbia in the months to come.