1. The Tour organiser and your contract with us
1.1 The Tours made available to consumers by visitscotland are organised by Highland Explorer Tours.
1.2 Where you confirm to us that you wish to book a Tour using the visitscotland Service, we will treat that as your offer to contract with us. It is only when payment of the Total Price has been made by you to us in accordance with Clause 2, that a legal contract for the provision of that Tour will be created between you and us. That contract will consist of these terms and conditions and the Tour details set out in the Welcome Pack. Terms and conditions which apply to the provision of any particular services included in the Tour are those of the relevant Service Provider. No contract will exist between you and Highland Explorer Tours.
1.3 The Welcome Pack will contain the Tour specific details that were agreed between you and us at the time that your Booking was made. The Welcome Pack will be sent to you by post once your payment has been confirmed.
1.4 Where your Booking is made less than 48 hours before the commencement of the first element of the Tour, your Welcome Pack will be issued to you before boarding the coach.
2. Charges and payment
2.1 When processing your Booking, we will confirm the Total Price payable for the Booking. The Total Price is payable in full at the time that your Booking is made and payment must be made using a debit or credit card. Your Welcome Pack will not be issued until payment has been received in full.
2.2 40% of the Total Price constitutes a deposit (the "Deposit") that will only be refunded to you in the circumstances outlined in Clauses 5 and 6. Otherwise, the Deposit is non-refundable.
3. If you wish to make a change to your Booking
3.1 If you or a member of your party are unable to proceed with a Tour once booked and that inability is due to circumstances outside that person's control (e.g. illness, death of a close relative or jury service), the booking may be transferred to a substitute person providing that substitute person satisfies any conditions applicable to the original Booking and a request is made to our Contact Centre by telephone by the Party Leader at least 30 days prior to departure. Where a transfer is made, we will charge a £10 administrative fee. The administrative fee and any other charges associated with the transfer (e.g. hotel surcharges) will be debited from the Party Leader's debit or credit card.
3.2 If you wish to change any other aspect of your Booking, the Party Leader should contact our Contact Centre by telephone as soon as possible. We will try to accommodate your requested change, but cannot guarantee to do so, particularly where the request is made at short notice. Where a change is made, we will charge a £5 administrative fee. The administrative fee and any other charges associated with the change (e.g. hotel surcharges) will be debited from the Party Leader's debit or credit card.
3.3 Where your request cannot be met, we will give you the option either: (i) to let the Booking stand unaltered; or (ii) to treat the Booking as being cancelled in accordance with Clause 4.
4. If you wish to cancel your Booking
4.1 If you wish to cancel your Booking, you must do so by contacting our Contact Centre by telephone.
4.2 If you cancel a Booking less than 28 days before the time at which the Tour is scheduled to start and that cancellation is not made on the basis that the details given in your Welcome Pack do not accord with your Booking or the information published through the visitscotland Service, we will be entitled to retain 100% of the Tour Price. Please note that certain Tours require cancellation more than 28 days in advance if any sum is to be refunded. Tours subject to that longer cancellation notice period will be identified as such at the time of Booking and in the Welcome Pack.
4.3 If you cancel a booking more than 28 days before the time at which the tour is scheduled to start, you will be entitiled to retain 60% of the Tour price. As per clause 2, we will be entitled to retain the deposit.
5. If we have to change your Booking
5.1 Occasionally we may have to make an alteration to your Booking and we therefore reserve the right to do so. If an alteration is required, we will notify you by post or e-mail. Where the alteration is classed as a Significant Alteration, we will invite you to choose one of the following options:
- treat your Booking as cancelled, whereupon we will refund all sums paid by you in relation to that Booking;
- replace your Booking with an alternative Tour of an equal or higher value (if available) at no additional charge to you; or
- replace your Booking with an alternative Tour of a lesser value (if available) and refund to your debit or credit card any difference between the Total Price of the two Bookings.
5.2 Subject to Clause 9, each of the above options may also entitle you to a compensatory payment as outlined in Clause 7 below.
6. If we have to cancel your Booking
6.1 If payment is refused using you nominated credit/debit card, your Booking will be treated as being automatically cancelled. We will notify you of cancellation in those circumstances by post or e-mail.
6.2 If a Tour is subject to a minimum number of participants and that minimum number is not met, we may have to cancel the Tour at short notice. You will be notified at the time of Booking and in your Welcome Pack if your Tour is subject to such an arrangement. Where we are forced to cancel a Tour for that reason, we will notify you by post or e-mail and we will refund your debit or credit card in full, together with any compensation payment to which you may be due under Clause 7 below. You will of course be welcome to make an alternative booking.
7. Your entitlement to compensation
7.1 Subject to Clause 9 below, where your Booking is subject to a Significant Alteration under Clause 5.1, or is cancelled by us for any reason other than in accordance with Clause 6.1 and you are not notified of that Significant Alteration of cancellation at least 48 hours in advance of the commencement of the first element of your Tour, a payment to you by way of compensation will be made by Highland Explorer Tours or us. That compensation will be either payment or payment in kind and will be set at our discretion. Any payment of compensation will not exceed 10% of the Total Price originally paid in relation to your Booking and will be in addition to any full or partial refund to which you may otherwise be entitled under these terms and conditions.
7.2 Where the Significant Alteration or cancellation is notified to you more than 48 hours in advance of the commencement of the first element of your Tour, no additional compensatory payment will be made.
8. Non-availability of accommodation or transport
8.1 Where any accommodation that forms part of your Booking is not available due to a double booking or otherwise, you should immediately notify the Highland Explorer Tours Emergency Helpline by telephone on +44 (0)131 5583738. Subject to Clause 9, Highland Explorer Tours will then arrange for those in your party that were included in the original Booking and are affected by the non-availability:
- to be accommodated at alternative accommodation that is of an equal or higher value than that originally booked;
- to be transported free of charge to the alternative accommodation; and
- to make a telephone call free of charge to advise a relative or friend of their new accommodation contact details.
8.2 If, for good reasons, the alternative accommodation referred to in Clause 8.1 is not acceptable to you, Highland Explorer Tours will arrange for you to be transported back to the location where the Tour commenced and we will reimburse you with that proportion of the Total Price which represents that part of the Tour which was not performed.
8.3 Where any travel arrangement that forms part of your Booking is not available, you should immediately notify the Highland Explorer Tours Emergency Helpline by telephone on +44 (0)131 558 3738 Subject to Clause 9, Highland Explorer Tours will then arrange for those in your party that were included in the original Booking and are affected by the non-availability to be transported to their scheduled destination by alternative means free of charge.
9. Force Majeure
Events of Force Majeure involve circumstances that are outside the reasonable control of Highland Explorer Tours and us. Whilst we will endeavour to assist you and your party where your Booking is altered or cancelled as the result of an Event of Force Majeure, we regret that the alternative arrangements and compensation payments detailed in Clauses 5, 6, 7 and 8 will not apply.
Any complaint you have relating to any element of your Tour should in the first instance be made to the Service Provider concerned (if any). If your complaint does not relate to accommodation or transport or is not dealt with to your satisfaction, you should refer the complaint within 7 days of the end of the Tour concerned, to the Highland Explorer Tours Emergency Helpline on +44 (0)0131 558 3738 . As part of the complaints process, Highland Explorer Tours will notify us of the complaint and will inform you of the action taken when you so request.
11. High risk activities
Where your Booking relates to a Tour that involves high risk activities such as skiing, water skiing, pot-holing, white water rafting or climbing, those taking part in the Tour must comply with all instructions given by any instructor or guide made available as part of the Tour. It is strongly recommended that you take out comprehensive insurance cover covering you and your party before commencing any Tour of the kind outlined in this Clause.
12.1 Subject to Clause 12.4, in no event will we be liable to you, in contract, delict (including negligence or breach of statutory duty) or otherwise howsoever and whatever the cause thereof for any loss of profit, business, contracts, revenues or anticipated savings, increased costs or expenses, special, indirect or consequential damage or loss howsoever arising out of a Booking.
12.2 Any loss or damage suffered by you or any member of your party which results from the failure of a Service Provider is limited to the amount that you or that member of your party is entitled to claim from such Service Provider under its terms and conditions and/or any applicable international convention.
12.3 Our total liability to you and the members of the party covered by the Booking in respect of any costs or losses directly associated with that Booking shall in no circumstances exceed in aggregate an amount equal to the total sums paid by you to us in relation to that Booking. For the avoidance of doubt, that limit shall take account of any sum paid by way of compensation to you or your party under Clause 7.
12.4 Nothing in this Clause 12 shall seek to limit or exclude our liability to you for death or personal injury caused by our negligence.
12.5 It is your responsibility to ensure that you and your party are at the departure point in good time and that you and your party adhere to the departure times given to you. Coaches shall not be held for you if you or any member of your party are late. In such cases full cancellation charges shall apply (subject to clause 4.2) and Highland Explorer Tours and visitscotland shall have no further liability to you or any member of your party.
Unless otherwise notified passengers are restricted to one medium sized suitcase/bag and one carry bag per person. Luggage is carried free of charge but at passengers own risk.
13. Data Protection
Please note that when giving information for the purposes of making your Booking, you will be deemed to consent to us holding, using and making that information available to Highland Explorer Tours, relevant Service Providers and our other agents and subcontractors for the purposes of attempting to make/making a Booking on your behalf and subsequently meeting our obligations set out in these terms and conditions and holding and using that information to send you details of selected tourism businesses, products and services that we think you will find valuable. We may also occasionally pass your details to selected third parties involved in the tourism industry. If you would prefer your information not to be used in that way, please contact us, giving your name and address: (i) by post to VisitScotland, Ocean Point One, 94 Ocean Drive, Edinburgh, EH6 6JH; or (ii) by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or (iii) by telephone on 0845 22 55 121.
We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance covering you and your party before the start of any Tour that you book using the visitscotland Service.
15. Financial Security
In accordance with the Package Travel etc Regulations 1992 and DTI guidance, we maintain an account which is held on trust for our customers and contains funds equal to or greater than the value of all Tours which at any time are booked by our customers, but have yet to be completed. In the unlikely event that we cease to be financially viable, those funds are protected in order to ensure that either your chosen Tour goes ahead, or you receive your money back. The name of our trustee is Turcan Connell (Solicitors), Princes Exchange, 1 Earl Grey Street, Edinburgh EH3 9AQ.
16.1 These terms and conditions, together with the relevant Welcome Pack and any relevant terms and conditions of carriage constitute the entire agreement between you and us in relation to that Booking. Nothing in this Clause shall exclude the liability of either party for fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation.
16.2 In the event that the whole or any part of a provision may prove to be illegal or unenforceable, the other provisions of these terms and conditions and the remainder of the provision in question will remain in full force and effect.
16.3 Unless otherwise stated, VAT is chargeable on the sale of all goods and supply of all services which are subject to VAT, whether supplied to you by us or a third party.
16.4 The construction, validity and performance of the Booking and these terms and conditions shall be governed by the law of Scotland and the parties submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Scottish Courts in as far as permitted by law.
"Accommodation Provider" means the provider of any accommodation that is part of your Booking;
"Booking" means a booking for accommodation/services selected by you using the visitscotland Service;
"Contact Centre" means the visitscotland customer service centre contactable by telephone from within the UK on 0845 22 55 121, or internationally on +44 (0)131 625 8625 and via e-mail on email@example.com;
"Force Majeure" means circumstances that are unforeseeable or beyond the reasonable control of visitscotland, Highland Explorer Tours, a Service Provider, including but not limited to war, threat of war, riot, industrial action, port closure, terrorism or the threat of terrorism, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, flood and other extreme weather conditions;
"Highland Explorer Tours means Highland Explorer Tours, a company registered in Scotland;
"Highland Explorer Helpline" means the travel helpline operated by Highland Explorer Tours, contactable by telephone on +00 44 (0)131 558 3738;
"Party Leader" means the person who makes the Booking whether on his/her own behalf or on behalf of a party;
"Service Provider" means any provider of any services included in the Tour, such as accommodation, carriage, refreshments, retail services, entertainment or any other service;
"Significant Alteration" means any of the following:
a change of accommodation to a lower star rating;
a change to your Tour departure date of 24 hours or more;
a material increase in the Total Price of your Tour; or
a significant change to the location of accommodation to outwith the city, town or, for rural accommodation, the locality.
'Tour' means any product, package or tour that is made available to consumers using the visitscotland Service;
"Total Price" means the total charges (including VAT) payable to us for the Tour that is the subject of your Booking;
"us" and "we" means visitscotland and “our” means visitscotland’s;
"VAT" means value added tax;
"visitscotland" means VisitScotland, which is a Non-Departmental Public Body set up under Section 6(1) of The Development of Tourism Act 1969;
"visitscotland Service" means the website, contact centre and any other sales channels that we operate in order to facilitate the matching of booking enquiries and Tours;
"Welcome Pack" means the information provided by the Tour company which confirms the terms of an individual Booking and contains any vouchers or tickets required for pre-paid services and/or travel; and
"you" or "your" means the Party Leader.