Case Study: City Cruises York

Reopening Success for City Cruises York

As lockdown restrictions have been eased, City Cruises York – which had to close down during this period – have reopened with new COVID-safe measures, seeing positive ticket sales and fantastic customer feedback.

A series of new measures have been put in place to ensure the safety of all passengers – including ensuring all seating is socially distanced by marking off rows, new signage, hand sanitising units, new cleaning processes and a track and trace system. City Cruises have been awarded both the Visit England ‘Good to Go’ mark and the ‘AA COVID Confident’ accreditation – showing they have carried out the rigorous safety checks and risk assessments needed for visitors to be fully confident with the measures that have been adopted for their safety.

City Cruises York, who are Visit York members, have now fully resumed operations of their sightseeing tours throughout the day, seven days a week. Pre-booking online is encouraged for the one-hour cruise, which takes passengers along the Ouse with a fascinating sightseeing commentary. Dining cruises are now also back running on Saturdays, Sunday and Wednesdays with new systems and hygiene procedures in places in line with social distancing guidelines. More information and details on how to pre-book can be found on

“The response we have had from customers on the changes has been incredibly positive – with feedback showing that people feel really safe and secure when on board. We are very pleased with how ticket sales have gone since reopening – the changes have meant we have a new on-board capacity but we are already starting to see the boats filling up. This last week we were up to 99% full and we are seeing a definite trend week-on-week of an increase in customers.

“We are also seeing a big increase in bookings online – with this up 150% from last year – and it is great to see that people are planning ahead – with our forward bookings for the summer looking really encouraging. Our self-drive boats are becoming increasingly popular as they lend themselves particularly well to social distancing – providing passengers the perfect opportunity to relax, have a picnic and enjoy the sights of York with their family and friends. Our recent booking stats also show that we have a higher proportion of passengers from York which is great as we really want to encourage local residents to come and explore their home city from a different perspective on the river.

“Just before lockdown we received Visit England’s Welcome Award for outstanding customer service – this is something we are incredibly proud of and want to build on as we return. Above all we remain committed to operating safely and providing a welcoming and safe environment for passengers – and we are open to continuing to adapt our procedures based on customer feedback.

“Looking ahead, we are considering ways we can plan for seasonal events with social distancing in place, and whilst it is too early to confirm details as yet, we are incredibly confidents that we will be able to offer a different but imaginative approach to on-board entertainment. Over the coming months we will also be continuing to develop our partnerships with other businesses across the city – looking to launch combination boat and bus tour tickets with City Sightseeing and Golden Tours. More widely we will also be looking at how we can collaborate with Visit York and other organisations across the city to be part of the overall marketing activity that helps to drive visitors and residents to explore York again.”

Mark Mattinson

Sales and Marketing Manager of City Cruises York

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