Xanterra Parks & Resorts® Expands Its Leisure And Travel Portfolio With
Acquisitions Of Adventure Travel Company, Additional Cruise Ships And A Hotel
DENVER, Feb. 19, 2013
DENVER, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --Xanterra Parks & Resorts^®, the largest
concessioner to the national parks, has completed a series of acquisitions
that greatly expand the company's experiential leisure offerings. These
acquisitions include three all-suite luxury cruise ships currently operated by
Seabourn to become part of Windstar Cruises, VBT (Vermont) Bicycling and
Walking Vacations and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., adjoining the South
Rim of Grand Canyon National Park where Xanterra operates more than 900 rooms
and numerous retail, food and beverage and tour operations.
These acquisitions are on the heels of other recent additions – Windstar
Cruises in 2011, Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va. in 2010 and the
historic Grand Canyon Railway in 2007.
"These businesses build on our existing portfolio as well as expand our
operations into adventure vacations throughout the world, further diversifying
our leisure travel holdings," said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of
Xanterra. "Xanterra Parks & Resorts^® has grown into a diversified hospitality
company with offerings on the sea, rails and land. Xanterra has expanded its
revenue base by more than 50 percent through targeted acquisitions in the last
three years alone and will continue to look for new opportunities to build on
our diverse leisure travel portfolio."
Expansion of Windstar Fleet with Three Seabourn Ships
Xanterra reached an agreement with Seabourn, a cruise company that operates
six luxury cruise ships within the Carnival Corporation, plc., to purchase
three of their luxury ships – the Seabourn Pride, Seabourn Spirit and
Seabourn Legend. These 104-suite ships are known for their "five-star" elegant
accommodations featuring ocean-view suites, multiple dining venues and spa
among other fine shipboard facilities. The ships will be integrated into the
newly renovated Windstar Cruises fleet over a two-year period beginning April
2014 to create one of the largest small-ship cruise lines in the industry.
With capacities of just 208 persons each, these ships complement Windstar's
three ships: Wind Spirit, Wind Star and Wind Surf, bringing the new total
Windstar fleet to six ships and 1,230 berths.
"Windstar Cruises has experienced four straight years of revenue growth. This
expansion is the perfect way to build on the momentum following our recent
fleet-wide renovation, providing us with the much needed capacity to match the
accelerating demand for our intimate style of yacht cruising," continued Todd.
The delivery of the three all-suite ships will take place over the next two
years in the Mediterranean. The Seabourn Pride will be the first ship to enter
into Windstar's luxury fleet in April 2014. Following a Windstar branded
renovation, which will give the ship a new name and casually elegant look, the
Pride will set sail a month later in May 2014; voyages are expected to go on
sale in May of this year. Windstar Cruises will take possession of Seabourn
Legend in April 2015 and Seabourn Spirit in May 2015, and the yachts are
scheduled to start sailing in May of 2015, following their dry-dock period.
"Windstar has built a great reputation, offering distinctive intimate,
yacht-style cruising. This style is at the core of our guest experience and
these ships will be a great addition to our brand," added Todd. The fleet
expansion will provide Windstar Cruises access to new destinations such as
Asia and South America, in addition to the 50 countries the company already
sails to. Known for visiting hidden harbors and secluded coves of the world,
Windstar will continue to focus on the unique experiences and destinations
that large ships cannot call on. Windstar recently announced its long-awaited
return to Tahiti in May 2014, one of the top destinations requested by
Windstar guests and travel partners.
Windstar's shore-side operations will continue to run out of the company's
Seattle headquarters. Additional details, including itineraries, onboard
experiences and renovation details will be released in the coming months.
VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations
Founded in 1971 by a Middlebury College professor and originally known as
Vermont Bicycle Touring, VBT offers deluxe, small-group bicycling, walking,
river barge and cross-country skiing tours worldwide at unsurpassed value with
destinations in Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru,
Argentina, Canada and the U.S. VBT focuses on creating life-changing vacations
featuring all accommodations, meals, two expert local trip leaders, unique
sightseeing and cultural activities and full vehicle support.
VBT is consistently in the top rankings by Travel + Leisure readers in the
"World's Best Tour Operator" category, was named by National Geographic
Adventure as one of the "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" and
recognized as one of Bicycling Magazine's "15 Trips We Love" for its Vermont:
Champlain Valley & Islands vacation. Based in Bristol, Vt., VBT also operates
offices in Europe and other destinations. VBT has been named "Most Active
Partner" by the French Government Tourist Office and was honored by Vermont's
governor for "Contributions to the State of Vermont."
"We are excited to expand into the adventure tour operator segment and believe
that there are important synergies not only across our portfolio of properties
but also properties owned by our sister companies in exceptional destinations
that will now become part of VBT's offerings," added Todd.
The Grand Hotel
The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz. was built in 1998 and features 121 rooms,
spacious lobby, timber construction, rustically elegant furniture and artwork,
multiple dining options, an indoor pool, hot tub and fitness center. The hotel
offers an alternative lodging option immediately adjacent to the park for
those who want to visit the Grand Canyon during peak visitation periods when
in-park lodging is near capacity, or for travelers who prefer to be close to
Tusayan's restaurants, shopping, tours and IMAX theater.
"This is a great addition to the six lodges we already operate at the South
Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and Phantom Ranch on the floor of the Canyon
as well as Grand Canyon Railway and the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in
Williams, Ariz. some 60 miles south. No matter how you choose to see the
Canyon, you have many options with us," commented Todd.
A Brief History of Xanterra
Like many U.S. companies with a long and significant history, Xanterra Parks &
Resorts' corporate family tree has many branches. Visionary and company
founder Fred Harvey partnered in 1876 with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe
Railway to fill the need for high-quality food for rail travelers. Harvey
Houses built at stops along the railroad provided good food served quickly, a
new experience for train passengers who had previously had only poor-quality
food available during their trips to destinations in the American West. In the
early part of the 20^th century, the Fred Harvey Company began expanding its
operations to include concessions in national parks as well as other tourism
businesses nationwide. Xanterra purchased the Fred Harvey Company in 1968, and
in 1995 Xanterra acquired TW Recreational Services, making the company the
largest national and state park operator in the U.S. In 2008, Xanterra was
acquired by the Denver-based Anschutz Company.
"Although Xanterra's reach now extends to all seven continents, the company
has remained true toHarvey's fundamental commitment to providing authentic,
local travel experiences," said Todd. "All of our operations today, no matter
how remote, strive to present local culture and cuisine, and preserve the
environment. It is a practice that we will continue to emphasize as we develop
new and better ways to serve the needs of today's traveler."
Xanterra has continued to develop or acquire operations that fit its mission
to provide legendary hospitality with a softer footprint. For example,
following the 2007 acquisition of the 112-year-old Grand Canyon Railway (GCR),
Xanterra converted the train to an all-diesel fleet for environmental reasons.
But in a nod to the historic appeal of the steam train, GCR developed a way to
power an occasional steam train run to the park using recycled vegetable oil
from the company's restaurant kitchens.
Xanterra will continue to seek acquisition opportunities that complement its
growing portfolio. The company will also seek to establish synergies within
its operations, including developing across-the-board environmental management
practices and launching health and wellness initiatives that encourage
employees and guests to enjoy the great outdoors in these unique and
Xanterra Parks & Resorts' other operations include lodges, restaurants, gift
shops, tours and activities in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Zion, Crater Lake,
Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks, Mount Rushmore National
Memorial, Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park and five Ohio
State Park Lodges, as well as the Geneva Marina in Ohio's Geneva State Park.
In addition, Xanterra owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va.;
Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel; The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz.; VBT, a
global adventure travel company; and the upscale cruise ships of Windstar
Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been committed to the preservation and protection
of the environment for many years. Through its environmental program,
"Ecologix," Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been recognized repeatedly for
environmental leadership in the hospitality industry and is the recipient of
many honors, including major awards from the U.S. Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Travel Industry
Association of America, American Hotel and Lodging Association, National Parks
Conservation Association, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic Traveler,
Colorado Department of Public Health, State of Arizona, Arizona Department of
Environmental Quality and Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
For more information about Xanterra Parks & Resorts, links to individual
properties and reservations numbers, visit www.xanterra.com.
SOURCE Xanterra Parks & Resorts
Contact: Betsy O'Rourke, Xanterra and The Grand, Vice President Sales &
Marketing, +1-303-600-3415, firstname.lastname@example.org; Mesereau Public Relations,
+1-720-842-5271, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org; Amanda Graham,
Windstar Cruises, +1-206-733-2970, Amanda.Graham@WindstarCruises.com; Paul R.
Williams, VBT, Director of Marketing, +1-800-245-3868, ext. 3414,
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