Xanterra’s Best Sustainable Experiences


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At Xanterra, we’re committed to sustainability and sharing the best our world has to offer for generations to come.

Posted by: Xanterra on April 29, 2022

Sustainability has become important for travelers in recent years. Frequent globetrotters opt for flights with lower emissions. At the same time, single-use plastics in packing options are being ditched for eco-friendly alternatives. Tourists are more likely to choose environmentally friendly accommodations and do more to reduce their carbon footprint while still being able to experience the wonders of the world. At Xanterra, we’re committed to sustainability and sharing the best our world has to offer for generations to come. With that in mind, we want to share some of the best destinations in The Xanterra Collection that actively and consciously participate in the conservation of Mother Earth.

Kids and Cowboys

All Aboard the Greenest Track in Arizona with the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel offers a little bit of everything: a trip through time, a unique way to experience nature’s breathtaking scenery, and an engineering marvel. Although the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel operates locomotives that have been in use since the early 20th century, it has reimagined them as lean, green, whistle-blowing machines. This feat was accomplished by implementing different sustainability initiatives, such as using recycled waste vegetable oil to fuel the historic steam engines. The recycled waste vegetable oil, known as ‘yellow grease’, is collected from different restaurants around the region. It then gets treated so it can be used to fuel the trains’ boilers that create steam.

Using yellow grease is just one of the ways the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel helps protect the delicate ecosystem in which it operates. For example, a steam engine typically uses about 15,00 gallons of water. With that in mind, the water used in the boilers aboard the trains contains reclaimed rain and snowmelt. And the fuel-efficient diesel engines, which help pull the parlor cars, use ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel as an extra nod to the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel’s general commitment to sustainability.

Cycling Into Fun with VBT Bicycling Vacations

Cycling is the epitome of sustainability. You only need your muscles to carry you from one beautiful place to another. By opting to travel by bicycle instead of a car, you’re actively helping protect the environment while boosting your health and well-being. VBT Bicycling Vacations encourages you to try and book your trip during the off-season or shoulder season. Visiting outside peak times and in smaller groups helps create a lighter footprint.

VBT is committed to protecting the environment and closing the gap between ‘easy’ and ‘difficult’ rides by offering E-bikes in their bicycle vacations at no extra charge. Electric bikes use clean electricity, are easy to use, and can help you travel further distances with ease. They also benefit from being noiseless, so they don’t contribute to sound pollution either! VBT always ensures that your bicycling guide knows about your touring areas. That way, you and your group will always use designated trails without damaging the delicate ecosystems you’re visiting. Bicycling is a form of slow travel that allows you to connect more with your destination and experience a more immersive trip. If sustainability is essential, a VBT bicycle vacation might be right for you.


Off the Beaten Path with Country Walkers

If you’re looking for active, sustainable, and adventurous travel, you must take the road less traveled. Visiting tourist spots is great, but to consciously understand a destination’s flavor and identity, you should go beyond the famous landmarks and attractions to the countryside and the natural landscape. Country Walkers focuses on tours that are less about traditional sightseeing and more about getting out on your own two feet and exploring a bigger world.

Country Walkers makes a concerted effort to tour away from big crowds while offering a more authentic experience of their varied destinations. They’re also committed to partnering with organizations that directly help the communities they tour. For example, when you take a tour to Zambia, Country Walkers partners with the local Committee for Clean Water. This organization aims to transform rural communities with limited access to water by drilling sustainable wells that pump clean water. Similarly, you can travel at ease in England. Country Walkers donates money on behalf of their tours here to the South West Coast Path Association — an organization dedicated to preserving iconic trail systems.

Castle Geyser erupting in Yellowstone in strong back light.

Protecting the Nation’s Oldest National Park 

Yellowstone National Park’s mission is to serve as a model and inspiration for national parks throughout the world by preserving “…these and other natural and cultural resources and values for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations.” With this in mind, Yellowstone Canyon Lodges have gone green. One of the most ecologically challenging aspects of tourism is accommodations, as they generate lots of waste and consume vast resources. The goal of  Yellowstone Canyon Lodges was to minimize the environmental impact of lodging by reducing their footprint in several ways. The lodges feature waste-sorting stations for guests to use. In addition, benches, picnic tables, and even bathroom countertops are made from recycled glass and by-products of burnt coal. The lighting fixtures in the lodges are all LED, all appliances are energy efficient and equipped with smart switches, and every room is equipped with water-saving devices.

The preservation of Yellowstone National Park doesn’t stop at accommodations, however, as local food with a sustainable focus is taking center stage at the park. Yellowstone embraces the farm-to-table food revolution, bringing sustainably caught trout from Idaho, Bison from North Dakota and Wyoming, and goat cheese, ice cream, and other dairy products from Montana. Locally sourced food products served in the park help reduce carbon emissions and transportation contamination. Restaurants around Yellowstone follow a simple philosophy: provide tasty, high-quality food with the smallest environmental footprint. This is achieved by sourcing and serving products that are mostly locally produced, fresh, certified, or shown to support sustainable farming, fishing, and hunting.

Salty Air and Clean Oceans with Windstar Cruise

One of the many draws of a cruise vacation is the opportunity to explore the natural wonders of our oceans and beautiful destinations across the globe. The destinations Windstar Cruises sail to, and their ecosystems, are special parts of every vacation. They’re connected to the surrounding environments, communities, and their health. Windstar Cruises’ fleet of vessels features new, environmentally friendly engines and advanced wastewater systems to preserve the delicate ecosystems that Windstar navigates. Windstar’s fleet consists of six ships, including three sailing vessels. These ships are powered by engines and sails in tandem, significantly reducing fuel consumption. So rest assured that when you’re traveling aboard the Wind SurfWind Starand Wind Spirit, you’ll be helping preserve our beautiful oceans.

A distinct feature that sets Windstar Cruises apart is its partnership with The James Beard Foundation. Their aim with this partnership is to offer prepared-to-order meals instead of big buffets. This is done to reduce food waste and enhance the culinary experience of the passengers. Windstar Cruises is committed to minimizing its impact on the future of our oceans. They’re working toward this goal by creating cleaner vessels and a more sustainable cruise ship experience so we can enjoy exploring by water for generations to come.

Solar Panels

As human beings, we are responsible for caring for the Earth and the environment. Traveling is a privilege, and as tourists and visitors, we must travel responsibly and think about the footprints we’re leaving behind. This is why we’re committed to sustainable tourism practices. We firmly believe that conserving the world’s natural systems is the right thing to do. When you start seeing what a meaningful positive impact you can make on your travels, you’ll quickly realize it’s well worth it. So, start planning your ecological conscious getaway with Xanterra; we can’t wait to see the world with you!

VERB Interactive

Written by: VERB

VERB is a conversion-focused agency, bringing real revenue to your travel business through digital marketing. We create beautiful, immersive platforms that drive measurable results for your business.

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