Inverness Tours founder, Tony Harmsworth, won numerous tourism awards including the first coach tour to be awarded five Scottish Tourist Board stars and winner of the best tourist attraction in the Highlands in 2004. This picture was taken in 2003 when he operated specialist bus tours. Today tours are conducted in various comfortable vehicles mainly six or eight passenger comfortable cars at even higher standards.
The photograph (right) was taken with Tony's bus and the five star award plaque. No previous tour in Scotland had won this award. Sadly regrettable reductions in the standards applied by the new VisitScotland scheme means that this award is now given to crowded minibuses on ridiculous break-neck itineraries from Edinburgh and Glasgow.
Currently our exclusive tour business falls outside the scope of the Scottish Tourist Board grading scheme, but previous awards won will give you confidence that whatever we offer, we do with excellence as the objective.
In 2004, largely through the efforts of guide, Alison Cameron, the bus tour business was given the highest accolade available.
It was not just the best tourist attraction in the Highlands, but the award had been voted for by the tours customers themselves who swamped the awards' committee with so many votes that they had no choice but to give the Visitor Attraction trophy to a bus tour! A trophy won the previous year by the mega-million-pound Urquhart Castle Visitor Centre.
Such a nomination had never occurred before and the committee have since reorganised the awards to make it almost impossible for such an award to be won by a tour again in the future.
When the organisations who give awards have to change the criteria and standards in order to open them to other businesses, it speaks volumes about the quality of the company who first set those standards.
Inverness Tours has been at the quality end of the business for more than six years and has been striving to make its exclusive tour business the finest of its kind available in Scotland. If you check out the Trip Advisor ratings you will find that Inverness Tours is the highest rated tour in the Highlands and Inverness and is the highest rated exclusive tour in the whole of Scotland.
In 2007 Tony, the founder, was joined by Hugh Allison, local historian, author and medieval weapons expert.
He had worked for a number of tourist boards and became a senior manager in Cultural and leisure services, for local government in the Highlands. This meant that he had responsibility for developing and promoting heritage and tourism; and the 1980’s and 1990’s Hugh gained a string of prestigious awards for good practice. He also wrote several publications on walks, car-tours, and the geology; natural history; and myths and legends of the Highlands.
More recently Hugh has been joined by George Munro, John MacKellaich and Ian Deveney. The profiles of all the guides can be read on the profiles page.
Some tour operators believe that a chauffeur's cap and limousine provide the best tours available. We don't use limousines, but we do have comfortable seven-seaters with PA systems and we firmly believe that what is under the chauffeur's cap is infinitely more important than its shiny peak and meaningless gold braid.
You might find more luxurious vehicles at a price, but surely when visiting a country it is far more important to really understand its history and culture. We promise you will not find a better experience or more knowledgeable experts to guide you.