Contrary to local belief, the unique idea of a Duck Tour did not originate in Boston. Duck operations have been in existence in the Midwest for decades, and in fact, continue to thrive. What we did, however, is take a unique product and improve and enhance it, while at the same time bringing it to a major metropolitan city. Although this sounds simple, the process from start to finish took nearly two years, "100 halls of government" and fierce determination by an ex-banker who felt that there was more to life than the standard 9-5, corporate world.
Opening in Boston required approximately 30 permits from various regulatory agencies. The permits were difficult to obtain partly due to the infamous bureaucratic red tape, but also because most people had never heard of Ducks and simply thought the idea of a land/water tour in Boston was crazy. At one point, Andy Wilson, Founder, was told that it would be easier to build a skyscraper in the center of the Boston Public Garden!
What began as a four-Duck, 15-employee business on October 4, 1994, has grown to a 28-Duck, 125-employee powerhouse in the Boston tourism market. Since inception, Boston Duck Tours was voted by Boston Magazine as "Best of Boston" in the city tour category, and voted Boston.com's "Best City Tour". The company also was honored by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce at their Small Business of the Year Luncheon, Andy was named Small Businessperson of the Year for Massachusetts, and Andy also received a Spirit of Enterprise Award from the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. On a busy day in 1994, we carried 600 passengers, compared to 4,000 during our peak season. The growth of Boston Duck Tours has been extremely important. However, we firmly believe that growth at the expense of quality is unacceptable. We continuously strive to improve upon the quality of the Ducks, the tour and our employees and not grow to the point where we become intrusive on the local community. We remain committed to strengthening the mutually beneficial relationship we have worked so hard to establish with the city of Boston.
In 2000, Andy Wilson left Boston Duck Tours to pursue other projects. His management team took over the company and has continued to build upon its foundation.