About Us

SITOA regularly represents all members in discussion with The Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Scottish Government, VisitScotland, Historic Environment Scotland and other national bodies.


By providing relevant and up to date industry feedback as required we make sure the specific needs of our Tour Operators are recognised in the development of national strategy, policy and ongoing initiatives.


SITOA works in partnership with both national and local organisations for the benefit of our members and our tour guests.


We work with the Historic Environment Scotland (HES), the body responsible for managing and operating many of the significant historical buildings across Scotland. We also work with the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) a national charity responsible for an independent charity that protects and shares some of our country’s most precious historic places and natural landscapes on behalf of the people of Scotland.


SITOA has negotiated partnership agreements with more than 20 of the privately owned or charity run visitor attractions as well as developing ongoing discussion with the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions which represents around 240across the length and breadth of Scotland.


As part of a programme of updates and education SITOA works with regional tourism organisations to offer inspiring webinars, FAM visits and expert knowledge. We also work with national organisations such as The Energy Trust to offer members updated information on a range of topical subjects such as sustainability and electric vehicles.


At a more local level, SITOA works with individual organisations, small charities and businesses to inform and educate our members about the vast collection of special places which our tour guests would enjoy when in Scotland.


As frequent visitors, with our guests, to many attractions across Scotland, SITOA members offer their own constructive feedback from our tour guests to organisations, which is welcomed.

  • We represent around 150 tour operator businesses
  • Our members travel across the length and breadth of Scotland from Shetland to The Borders, and from Skye to St Andrews.
  • Our members offer Day Tours and extended Multi-Day tours for small groups.
  • As tour operators the majority of our members all own their own vehicles which range in capacity from up to four guests, up to eight passengers and also 16-seater mini-coaches.

Our members offer:

    • Private Tours for families and friends
    • Small Group Tours with individual booked seats
    • Multi-Day Tours ranging from 2 days to over 14 days
    • Itinerary Planning and all aspects of designing a private tour to Scotland.
    • In general, we do not provide accommodation as part of our tours, however we are always happy to recommend places to stay to suit all budgets.

Anyone booking a tour with a member of SITOA can expect the following professional standards:

  • Vehicles will be clean, roadworthy and properly insured with Hire and Reward insurance and all businesses will have Public Liability Insurance
  • Guides will ensure that your health and safety is a priority throughout the tour
  • You will have the opportunity to engage with the rich history and modern story of Scotland through the eyes of an enthusiastic Tour Guide
  • Supporting best practices in responsible tourism
  • Treating clients and third parties with courtesy and respect
  • Treating the communities, environment and attractions you visit with respect
  • We encourage our members to offset all carbon emissions caused by our vehicles.
  • We actively recycle all plastic waste and glass bottles generated on our tours.
  • We support local and national programmes such as ‘Leave No Trace,’ Keep Scotland Beautiful and other local schemes.

OUR HISTORY

January, 2021

Founded

Established in January 2021, SITOA’s three founding members were compelled to create an association after seeing so many small, local Tour Operators consistently miss out on Covid 19 emergency rounds of funding in 2020.

January, 2021

March, 2021

Objectives Defined

The original aim of the association was to give the independent tour operators a voice – a seat at the table where financial assistance and support was being discussed.


Within weeks, more than 120 businesses had joined the Association which demonstrated the significant contribution these Tour Operators make within Scottish tourism.


Following significant discussion with VisitScotland and The Scottish Tourism Alliance, it was agreed that a grant of £3m would be made available in March 2021 for Day Tour and Multi-Day Tour Operators

March, 2021

April, 2021

Objectives Widened

Objectives widened to include information and education updates, FAM visits, and member benefits
April, 2021

July, 2021

Expanded Member Benefits

Discussion underway with a range of Visitor Attractions and national bodies progressing member benefits. Webinars planned and private visits arranged for small groups of members. SITOA continues to be represented at meetings of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.
July, 2021

Present

The Association continues to develop

Scottish Government is lobbied on behalf of members. Members continue to share information and in early 2022 formal membership registration will be complete. Before the start of the touring season all members will have access to a wide range of benefits.
Present

OUR CORE VALUES

Representation for all in the Industry

We want all Independent Tour Operators in Scotland to have a strong collective voice

Quality in the Community

Promoting Tourism that promotes the well-being of local economies

5 Star Scottish Experiences

Why we all got into the Tours industry in the first place!