Xanterra Parks & Resorts® awarded contract to operate concessions in Glacier National Park; Latest in a series of major acquisitions for Xanterra
DENVER, August 15, 2013 – Xanterra Parks & Resorts has been awarded the contract to operate concessions in northern Montana’s Glacier National Park beginning in early January 2014. The 16-year Glacier National Park contract was announced by the National Park Service.
The contract includes the operations of five lodges with approximately 500 rooms and cabins; four restaurants with more than 500 seats, five retail outlets; tours of the park in 33 historic White Motor Company Red Buses, and ancillary services including a hikers shuttle, laundry and showers.
The lodges are the historic Many Glacier Hotel and Lake McDonald Lodge plus the Apgar Village Inn, Rising Sun Motor Inn and Swiftcurrent Inn.
“Glacier National Park has long been one of the National Park Service’s crown jewels, and all of us at Xanterra Parks & Resorts are privileged to be granted the opportunity to take the helm of the park’s concession operations and expand our partnership with the National Park Service,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “Our experience is perfectly suited to the job of preserving this national treasure. With decades of operating concessions in Glacier’s neighboring regions – Yellowstone National Park to the south and Crater Lake National Park to the west – we have developed a deep appreciation for the breathtaking beauty of this part of our country.”
The contract includes numerous improvements to the park’s historic lodges. Most of the lodge rooms will receive new furnishings, and several of the rooms will be renovated. Food and beverage operations will also be improved, and Xanterra will be focusing on offering healthy, sustainable menu items in line with its award-winning restaurant operations in other locations. Xanterra will also rehabilitate a portion of the park’s famous White Motor Company Red Buses as it has with its Historic Yellow Buses – also made by White Motor Company – in Yellowstone National Park. Xanterra plans to add to the Red Bus fleet with at least two alternative-fuel buses every year, including the addition of ADA-accessibility buses.
This is the latest in a series of high-profile acquisitions for the global travel company, which has added several other major operations to its portfolio in the last few years, including Windstar Cruises and three suites-only ships acquired from Seabourn that will be added to the Windstar fleet in 2014 and 2015; Kingsmill Resort, a four-diamond resort featuring golf courses on the James River in Williamsburg, Va.; VBT Bicycling and Touring, with guided walking and cycling tours around the globe; and The Grand Hotel in the Grand Canyon National Park gateway community of Tusayan, Ariz. Earlier this year the company was awarded the contract to operate concessions in Yellowstone National Park for another 20 years.
Xanterra is the largest national park concessioner in the country, with operations in Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Death Valley, Petrified Forest and Zion National Parks plus Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The company also operates Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz, five Ohio State Park Lodges and the Geneva Marina in northeast Ohio.
“Glacier National Park is known for its soaring mountains, crystal clear lakes, alpine meadows, pristine forests and more than two dozen glaciers,” added Todd. “ We look forward to commencing our operations at Glacier and implementing our award-winning sustainability programs and serving the many park visitors.”
With the addition of the operations in Glacier National Park, Xanterra’s worldwide operations will include 34 hotels with 6,128 rooms or cabins, 89 food and beverage outlets and 61 retail stores.
About Glacier National Park
The 10th national park in the U.S., Glacier was designated a national park in 1910. Like in many early parks, tourism was tied to a railroad. The Great Northern Railway recognized the need for visitor services in this pristine part of the country on the Canadian border, so the railway built several classic lodges such as the Many Glacier Hotel and Lake McDonald Lodge.
The park crosses the Continental Divide and is surrounded by two national forests plus the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, which has strong ties to the land.
The 1 million-acre park draws about 2 million visitors per year, who come to experience the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road; enjoy the breathtaking views of its many glaciers; watch its wildlife, including many endangered or threatened species; and enjoy active outdoor adventures like hiking and fishing.
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 20th 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.
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.
Statement from Andrew N. Todd, President & CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts®
Glacier National Park has long been one of the National Park Service’s crown jewels, and all of us at Xanterra Parks & Resorts are privileged to be granted the opportunity to take the helm of the park’s concession operations and expand our partnership with the National Park Service. Our experience is perfectly suited to the job of preserving this national treasure. With decades of operating concessions in Glacier’s neighboring regions – Yellowstone National Park to the south and Crater Lake National Park to the west – we have developed a deep appreciation for the breathtaking beauty of this part of our country. Glacier National Park is known for its soaring mountains, crystal clear lakes, alpine meadows, pristine forests and more than two dozen glaciers. We look forward to commencing our operations at Glacier and implementing our award-winning sustainability programs and serving the many park visitors.