Xanterra Parks & Resorts Receives Travel Industry Association’s Odyssey Award

Xanterra Parks & Resorts Receives Travel Industry Association’s Odyssey Award

Award Recognizes Xanterra’s Environmental Initiatives in Yellowstone National Park

The Travel Industry Association (TIA), in partnership with National Geographic Traveler Magazine, has selected Xanterra Parks & Resorts to receive a 2007 Odyssey Award. The Greenwood Village-based concessioner will receive the “Geotourism Award for Sustaining the Environment of a Place” for its significant and continually evolving environmental efforts in Yellowstone National Park.

Xanterra was one of just 10 companies worldwide to receive an Odyssey award and the only national park concessioner. According to the Travel Industry Association, Odyssey Awards “recognize the very best in the industry: the very best marketing and advertising programs; the top promotion and public and community service programs; and excellence in communications and building awareness of tourism’s positive impact on
our nation.”

The other award-winning organizations run the gamut in international tourism, and include Royal Caribbean International and Disney Canada as well as various destination tourism organizations. Awards were presented in a variety of categories.

Denver-based Xanterra Parks & Resorts manages lodges, restaurants, gift shops, tours and activities in Yellowstone as well as many other national parks, state parks and resorts.

“We believe it is our responsibility to continually push the limits of environmental responsibility in the tourism business, and this award acknowledges the efforts of a multitude of Xanterra employees who work to make our operations more sustainable,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “The TIA Odyssey award is internationally known as one of the most prestigious honors in the tourism industry. We are in terrific company with the other award-winners, and we are truly honored to receive this award.”

The award lauded not only Xanterra’s “tremendous number of environmental initiatives” in Yellowstone National Park, but also the company’s development of the tourism industry’s first-ever Sustainability Report.

“Xanterra’s goal was to set the pace in the tourism industry by establishing the standards by which other tourist-related organizations can measure themselves,” according to the September 21 TIA announcement (http://www.tia.org/pressmedia/pressrec.asp?Item=788). “Xanterra does this through the process of disclosure and detailed measurement of environmental progress, as well as impact. Through third-party verification and accountability systems, Xanterra is proving that environmental performance in the tourism sector is quantifiable, and therefore able to be improved upon.”

“Tourism still lags behind most other industry sectors in reporting and tracking its environmental impacts,” said Todd. “At Xanterra we have been carefully tracking the impact of our environmental initiatives company-wide for seven years, and we have a fairly accurate picture of where we have been and where are going. While we are certainly heading in the right direction, we know that we have a long way to go on the road toward sustainability.”

Environmental initiatives in Yellowstone – and throughout Xanterra’s other operations — include serving sustainable cuisine in restaurants, using alternative fuels in company vehicles, purchasing the most fuel-efficient vehicles possible, recycling both compostable and non-compostable waste materials, using an innovative water recovery system in the laundry facilities and purchasing environmentally sensitive paper and cleaning products.

Among Xanterra’s more innovative initiatives is a program to recover propane cylinders left behind in campgrounds, including the design and construction of a recycling machine that recovers the gas and crushes the cans. The recycling machine is powered by some of the recovered fuel.

TIA Odyssey Awards in a variety of other categories will be presented to Xanterra and nine other travel organizations October 23 at the TIA Annual Awards Banquet in Charlotte, N.C.

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