Having been founded in 1992, Shetland Wildlife is the most experienced wildlife-watching holiday company operating in Shetland - FACT! Not only were we the first operator to discover this world-class wildlife-watching destination, we have also continued to gain the greatest experience by operating nearly 600 holidays! Although the vast majority of our holidays are operated for individuals, Shetland Wildlife is delighted to have been awarded continued contracts to supply holidays to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Scottish Ornithologists Club, Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society, CSMA, The Mammal Society, The Audubon Society, Organisation Cetacea, Bird Watching Magazine and the Environment Agency to name a few. Because we know Shetland and her wildlife like no other, we also run many holidays for other eco-tourism businesses based in the UK and we are represented across Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA by our travel affiliates. Naturally, such high profile organisations and businesses choose their partners very carefully - we are therefore very proud to be their number one choice for operating wildlife adventures here in Shetland - and beyond.
Our first-class service begins the day you contact Shetland Wildlife. Unlike some other operators who run their businesses around their 9 to 5 jobs or their annual leave (making your holiday effectively theirs!), we run a highly successful full-time wildlife-watching business and offer the support you would expect from a company that claims to be the best. We certainly don't expect you to call an expensive mobile number to speak with us and we certainly don't expect you to trust a travel agent, perhaps more used to bundling people on a package holiday to the sun, to book YOUR holiday! With Shetland Wildlife, you can pick up the phone or send us an e mail and communicate with the folk who will actually guide your trips. All of our staff are intimately familiar with our holidays and are able to provide advice on absolutely everything relevant to your trip. Anybody who thirsts after additional information not provided by our dedicated full-colour brochure can delve into our free pre-departure booklet. Our guests tell us that this is the most detailed document they have ever received prior to going on any holiday.
Shetland has a diversity and abundance of wildlife which we think is unbeatable in the UK and comparable to the very best wildlife-watching locations in the world. But it's not just the birds, the wild flowers or the mammals that make our trips so exciting. It's the place and its people. And our team are a big part of that place and its people!
Our holidays offer one of the most affordable means of encountering all the Shetland wildlife specialities. Why else would we welcome so many individuals, families and take a growing number of group and charitable bookings every year? Our published prices are exactly what you pay us - we do not base our prices on a minimum number of bookings and expect you to pick up the tab for the remainder just in case somebody drops out. We do not expect you to pay a third party intermediary in order to book a holiday being run by us and, on the flip side, we simply refuse to work with operators who want to take 'piggy-backs' from fully bonded operators like ourselves to escape having to lodge a financial bond themselves. When you book a holiday with Shetland Wildlife, its Shetland Wildlife that administers it and its Shetland Wildlife that operates it. We have all the financial protection in place that the law quite rightly insists on - we have our very own ATOL (No. 9151) and also adhere to the European Travel Package Directive.
Because we live here, our guides have a familiarity with Shetland matched by no other holiday company. If we are told about a pod of Killer Whales feeding off a far-flung headland we know the quickest way to get there. If there's a chance of hopping on a boat to see them, we're offered the space. Similarly if a stunning rarity reveals itself, we're told about it within seconds. And we know the landowners who will allow us on their land for great views of wildlife. No distant dots with us - our groups are made to feel welcome!
Shetland Wildlife prides itself on the professionalism of its guides - simply put, they are the best that Shetland can offer and are superb 'all-rounders'. They were all hand-picked for their many years of in-the-field experience, attitude to their work and their in-depth understanding of all aspects of natural history. Our guides are friendly, approachable, outgoing team-players willing to go that extra mile in order to make your holiday as enjoyable as possible. We may be blowing our own trumpet but unlike other companies, our guides' expertise is tempered with the necessary caution required when viewing wildlife. However, spectacular and unusual sightings occur during many of our holidays, and our guides have confirmed the occurrence of some of the rarest wildlife through detailed observation, field notes and photographs. Just as important are our office staff who work so hard behind the scenes to make sure all enquiries and bookings are responded to efficiently, and whose meticulous planning and organisation of every holiday ensures yours runs as smoothly as possible.
Let's dispel the myth that Shetland is a rough place for weather! Of course at 60 degrees north rough weather can occur anywhere in the world, but during our operating season, poor weather is pretty rare. In fact, the environmental data that we collate on every trip shows that relatively calm weather and good weather conditions prevail.
We all have a responsibility to protect the wildlife which gives us so much pleasure and Shetland Wildlife takes that responsibility very seriously. As pioneers of Scottish eco-tourism, we have a commitment to ensure that our business incorporates environmentally sound principles and minimises any negative impact we may be having on our environment. We follow a carefully researched and workable set of pre-determined guidelines, ensuring that we can enjoy wildlife in its natural habitat without the threat of disturbance. Our travellers constantly congratulate us on our responsible attitude to wildlife viewing - and we are extremely proud of this. From an economic point of view, Shetland Wildlife is the largest inbound operator in Shetland and therefore makes an important and significant financial contribution to the local economy and its people, especially to the more remote islands of Fetlar, Foula and Fair Isle.
With over 40 holidays to select from, we offer so much choice that there really should be something for everybody to enjoy. Our itineraries offer the maximum flexibility with regards to departure dates - we don't run just one trip a year and claim it to be the "Best Shetland Trip on Offer"! We also offer a bespoke range of itineraries for individuals, groups, professional photographers and visiting journalists and film crews.
Shetland Wildlife has been awarded the 'Tourism and the Environment Scottish Thistle Award'. The Scottish Tourist Board's 'Thistle' is firmly recognised as the country's most prestigious tourism award and the Tourism and the Environment category pays tribute to businesses that promote a better understanding of Scotland's natural heritage, while adopting environmentally friendly practices. One or two operators may have been awarded minor accolades, but to date, no other wildlife holiday operator in the Shetland or Scottish eco-tourism industry can match the award given to Shetland Wildlife.