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Western River Expeditions and Moab Adventure Center Receive Coveted Best of Utah Travel Award For 9th Consecutive Year

Salt Lake City, UT – Utah whitewater rafting pioneer Western River Expeditions and its sister company, the one-stop multi-activity Moab Adventure Center are recent recipients of the Best of State Award for Adventure Travel from the state of Utah, announced Brian Merrill, CEO and spokesperson for both companies.

The Best of State award is Utah’s premier recognition and awards program created to recognize outstanding individuals, organizations and businesses in Utah.

This is the 9th consecutive year that both of these Utah-based companies have won medals in the Travel & Tourism category and more specifically “Adventure Travel”.

An Awards Gala to be held May 22, 2012 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City will feature dinner, live entertainment, and celebrity presenters. Merrill will be present to accept the Best of State Gold Medal for Western River Expeditions and the Moab Adventure Center.

Moab’s Red Cliffs Lodge, with which both companies partner on many of their multi-day active itineraries, also won in the Hospitality category for best “Vacation Resort.”

Western River Expeditions has been operating whitewater rafting expeditions on the Colorado and Green rivers since 1961 and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2011. It holds concession contracts with the National Park Service for Canyonlands. Arches and Grand Canyon national parks and has Special Recreation Permits with the Bureau of Land Management allowing it to guide trips in Westwater Canyon, Desolation Canyon, on the Colorado River above Moab, and on 4×4 trails in the Canyonlands area.

Each year, contract and permit holders are rigorously evaluated on everything from safety, to trip quality, to customer service, to compliance with regulations.  Western River Expeditions has never received anything less than a perfect score on any evaluation in the history of the company.

Annually, from March through October, Western River Expeditions escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the single largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon.

In 2003 the company launched Moab Adventure Center when they recognized that travelers needed a truly convenient location and website to plan the myriad of adventures available in the Moab/Arches/Canyonlands region.  This included day trips, multi-day trips and Moab, Utah vacation packages that combine lodging and activities. Travelers responded and since 2003, the Moab Adventure Center has experienced growth in every single year, including through the recent economic downturn.  Advanced bookings for 2012 reflect a 25% increase over 2011. Growing from just under 3,000 guests per year to over 36,000 guests in 2011, more people are choosing to experience Moab through Moab Adventure Center than any other single company.

This customer-centered concept provides a “one stop” location that also allows Moab Adventure Center to represent other local outfitters by selling into their trips showcased at a high-profile, downtown walk-in booking location.  From the Moab Adventure Center, visitors can sign up for whitewater rafting in Moab, Hummer tours, Jeep rentals, guided hiking in Arches National Park, horseback riding, mountain biking, scenic flights, rock climbing and  canyoneering, jet boat tours, hot air ballooning, stand up paddleboarding and more.  The center also has a 2,000-square-foot retail space selling adventure related gear and clothing as well as souvenirs.

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