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This summer the Boat Bike Tours were again a success and guests could safely sail on the ships. This was mainly due to the well-thought-out corona protocol that the Amsterdam tour operator had prepared at an early stage. Ship owners, corona managers and tour guides strictly complied with these measures, allowing guests to enjoy a safe trip.

“Our policy consisted of two parts,” says Paulus Mooyman, corona officer at BBT. “First of all, prevention was important. Last March we immediately found out which measures we had to adhere to. We also asked the Professional Association for Charter Shipping (BBZ) for input. At the end of April 2020, the protocol was ready, specifically geared to the situation on our ships.”

In addition, a protocol had to be established for any cases of actual contamination. “A ship that was being converted by one of our shipping companies and almost ready could be used as a corona ship,” says Mooyman. “If there was any doubt at all as to whether someone on board – i.e. a guest or staff member – was infected, we immediately removed them from the ship. With a taxi to a testing facility and then on to our corona ship, people could stay as long as necessary. Fortunately, we hardly ever had to use the ship.”

Consultation with GGD, ports and ship owners

Boat Bike Tours has involved many parties in its plans. The travel organization wanted to develop the safest possible way of traveling, in which guests would be inconvenienced as little as possible. That is why the plans (the protocol and the idea of the corona ship) were also discussed with the GGD [the Dutch public health service] and various ports, including those of Amsterdam and Rotterdam. Both the GGD and the ports were positive about the way Boat Bike Tours wanted to design its trips. “We have now had two audits by the GGD and have completed both with excellent results,” says Mooyman proudly.

The contact with the captains, corona managers per ship and tour guides was also important, and still is. They received an extensive briefing and training before the sailing season. There is still weekly contact and the ships are visited to check whether everyone is still maintaining the measures, to answer questions and to tighten or adjust rules if necessary. Due to this system, all Boat Bike Tours trips last year went well, without corona outbreaks and with satisfied guests.

Boat Bike Tours therefore looks forward to next year with optimism. “We have proven that it is possible to offer safe trips, which our guests can enjoy optimally and be pampered,” says Jan Timmermans, director of Boat Bike Tours.