Boston Duck Tours Optimistic About 2021 Season

WBZ-TV's Rachel Holt spoke with Boston Duck Tour drivers who are eager to get the season started.

Video Transcript

DAVID WADE: Bring on the duck boats. No, there's no championship parade, but the Boston icons are about to hit the streets again. After a pandemic-shortened season last year, the amphibious vehicles are ready to roll.

LISA HUGHES: Yeah, now tour organizers have safety in mind, of course, and a new target audience. WBZ's Rachel Holt shows us.

DAN FOLEY: The oldest public subway system in the United States.

RACHEL HOLT: Dan Foley, or "Professor Quackenstein," is starting his 10th season as a conductor at Boston Duck Tours.

DAN FOLEY: I am looking forward to having guests on the ducks enjoying our beautiful city.

GENO FORGIT: When we switch up and put the propeller on and then splash in the water, the reaction from the crowd is always just one of the most amazing things.

RACHEL HOLT: Business was far from smooth sailing last year, with a shortened 2020 season that began in July.

CINDY BROWN: Our business was down 92% last year compared to '19. So we've lost business travel, we've lost conventions, meetings, field trips, international.

RACHEL HOLT: According to Boston Duck Tours CEO Cindy Brown, that led to a $4.5 million loss in revenue. While tourism remains down, the company is shifting its focus to the locals.

DAN FOLEY: Last year, we got a lot of people that were more local to Boston. After the tour, they will say to me, "I never knew that about Boston," about one thing or another.

RACHEL HOLT: With tours starting April 1, Brown is feeling optimistic about this season.

CINDY BROWN: We're really only about a week and a half off from a normal start date. We should be in really good shape to have a much better year than last year.

RACHEL HOLT: Starting out, 15 of the company's 27 duck boats will be in use, operating at 50% capacity.

CINDY BROWN: So we'll be able to have a group on the dock and then we'll space them with other groups. So it'll be a little bit more spread out. Obviously, the windows on the ducks help for air flow.

GENO FORGIT: I'm really looking forward to getting back to work and getting back to, you know, just driving through the city and seeing everybody out there again.

RACHEL HOLT: For WBZ News, I'm Rachel Holt.

LISA HUGHES: Yeah, David, you said you brought David Jr. into Boston like a tourist today.

DAVID WADE: That's right. And I got to say, the duck boat is one of my favorite things to do in Boston. A good time no matter what. The drivers are so funny.

LISA HUGHES: There, of course, Dr. Quackenstein, one of the esteemed PhDs you can find walking around Boston.

DAVID WADE: Of course. Professor Quackenstein. Love it.