Xanterra Bought Tour Co. Austin Adventures
Xanterra Parks & Resorts announced today (Sept. 11) 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,” Andrew N. Todd, president and CEO of Xanterra Parks & Resorts stated in a news release. “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.
Consistently rated as one of the world’s top tour operators, Austin Adventures received numerous awards in 2012. Travel + Leisure named the company as the “Top Tour Operator and Safari Outfitter for Families,” the number two “Tour Operator in the World” and a “World’s Best Value for Tour Operators and Safari Outfitters.” National Geographic Traveler recognized the company’s offerings in its list of 50 Tours of a Lifetime, and Outside Magazine named Austin Adventures a “Hall of Fame Travel Awards Recipient.”
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.