Xanterra Parks & Resorts Acquires Austin Adventures; Much-Lauded Adventure Tour Company Recognized as One of the World’s Best

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Global hospitality company Xanterra Parks & Resorts has once again expanded its leisure travel portfolio with the acquisition of Austin Adventures.

Austin Adventures is known for its active trips featuring hiking and other adventures in spectacular natural settings.

“Austin Adventures is one of the best adventure travel companies on the planet and shares Xanterra’s deep commitment to offering inspirational travel experiences in beautiful places,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Austin Adventures. Formerly called Austin-Lehman Adventures, this Billings, Mont.-based tour company offers upscale, active adventures throughout the world. The transaction is expected to close in October.

“Austin Adventures is one of the best adventure travel companies on the planet and shares Xanterra’s deep commitment to offering inspirational travel experiences in some of the world’s most beautiful places,” said Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “We are especially pleased to welcome Dan Austin, who will remain in his current role as president of Austin Adventures, to the Xanterra team. Dan is known throughout the travel industry for his passion for outstanding customer service, and this is one of the reasons he was successful in building Austin Adventures into the award-winning, world-renowned company it is today.”

With a legacy going back nearly 40 years, Austin Adventures offers tours in more than 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, the South Pacific and the Middle East. The company’s guided adventures include biking, hiking, paddling, safaris, horseback, small ships and snorkeling/swimming while focusing on themes such as culture, gourmet food and wellness.

“With years of offering adventures in national parks, I am personally familiar with the high level of customer service and the serious commitment to sustainability that defines Xanterra, and it is a privilege to join this company,” said Dan Austin. “This announcement comes during one of Austin Adventures’ best years ever, and we expect to see double-digit growth next year. Joining the Xanterra family will help make us stronger, and our customers can expect to see not only the same robust attention to service, but also exciting new offerings in 2014.”

Austin Adventures’ operations will remain in Billings, and there will be no change to current management and staff. Additionally, Austin Adventures will take advantage of synergies with other Xanterra companies. Austin Adventures already added two Windstar Cruises to its 2014 catalog and plans to expand its offerings in national parks where Xanterra operates, including Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Glacier National Parks.

Austin Adventures is known for offering high-end family-friendly adventures, and the company’s offerings complement its new sister adventure travel company, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, which is especially popular with active empty nesters.

This is the latest of several Xanterra expansion announcements this year, including the acquisition of three cruise ships from Seabourn and the 20-year contract renewal to operate concessions at Yellowstone National Park. In mid-August, the National Park Service announced that Xanterra was awarded the Glacier National Park concession contract beginning in 2014. Other recent Xanterra acquisitions include Kingsmill Resort in 2010; Windstar Cruises in 2011; and VBT Walking and Bicycling Vacations and The Grand Hotel in 2012 and Kingsmill Realty in 2013.

Xanterra Parks & Resorts has grown into a diversified global hospitality company with offerings on the sea, rails and land. The company has expanded its revenue base by more than 50 percent in the last three years alone and continues to look for new opportunities to build on its diverse leisure travel portfolio.

Known for its “Legendary Hospitality with a Softer Footprint,” Xanterra Parks & Resorts® entities include lodges, restaurants, tours and activities in national and state parks and resorts as well as a cruise line, railway and tour operator. Xanterra Parks & Resorts has operations in the Grand Canyon, including Grand Canyon Railway in Williams, Ariz., and The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz.; Yellowstone; Zion; Crater Lake; Glacier, 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 at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., Windstar Cruises and VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.

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Mona Mesereau
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