Xanterra Contracted for Another Year at Grand Canyon

There’s more going on at the Grand Canyon National Park than one may realize, and it’s not often that the average visitor considers who might be providing the lodging, food, and amenities they enjoy during their visit. For those of you who have visited during the last few years, all amenities from Grand Canyon lodging to mule rides have been provided by Xanterra South Rim, LLC, and due to a disappointingly uneventful bidding period held to decide who would be providing amenities for the next few years, Xanterra has just been signed on for a temporary one-year contract.

To avoid a lapse in hospitality services, the contract was awarded to the very same company who was already providing such services. Officials at the park hoped that a new company would be able to take Xanterra’s place, but due to initial investments made by Xanterra that would need to be reimbursed by the next company in line, officials were unable to attract new bidders.

Officials assure visitors that hospitality services will continue to be available, with the exclusion of the Desert View Watchtower which will be closed for no longer than five days beginning on January 1st. The Watchtower will be closed while it transitions from being owned by Xanterra to being a part of the park itself, while Xanterra will continue to provide their services through places like Phantom Ranch, Lookout Studio, El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge, Hermit’s Rest, Kachina Lodge, Maswik Lodge, and Hopi House.

The contract also includes transportation services such as busses, taxis, and mule rides. This new temporary contract went into effect on January 1st and will continue until December 31st of 2015 by which time the Grand Canyon National Park will hopefully have successfully hired a new company. To encourage new interest in the park’s once-coveted contract, the park will be paying Xanterra nearly $100 million to cut down some of the investment made by the company and lower the initial cost of business to companies who were hesitant to bid this year. Many companies considered bidding on the Grand Canyon contract, but since initial investments are passed down when a new company takes the helm, there was a massive costs that came with taking over these Grand Canyon services.

Xanterra stands to make $66 million with the newly-signed temporary contract, and hopefully by the end of the year, a new company will be willing and ready to take its place. How do you feel about the services provided at the Grand Canyon? Do you think the park is making a mistake in searching for a new provider? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!