For nearly 100 years, Grand Canyon National Park has enjoyed a beneficial relationship with Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the nation’s largest parks tourism contractor whose corporate ancestors have sold lodging and concessions at the Arizona wonder since the late 19th century.
But in the 21st century, the cash-strapped National Park Service finds itself pressured to get creative in complying with a 1998 federal law requiring it to regularly solicit competitive bids for services.
The problem: Xanterra over the decades has invested up to $200 million in improvements to its hotel, gift shops and restaurants around the canyon’s South Rim, money it would be entitled to collect should the government yank its concession contracts. The chances of finding a competing concessions contractor willing to assume that debt to Xanterra are considered slim.
So in August, the Park Service announced a new approach. It would solicit a major concessions contract—worth more than $1 billion in potential revenue over 15 years—for the third time since 2013, the first private bids that came in having been deemed inadequate.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/09/grand-canyon-park-gets-creative-attract-bids-concessions-contract/95009