TravelAge West’s Best Tour Operator for Adventure? Drum Roll Please…

Veteran river outfitter and adventure travel company, O.A.R.S., has been honored with a TravelAge West 2015 Editor’s Pick Award in the category of Best Tour Operator for Adventure as part of the TravelAge West WAVE (Western Agents’ Votes of Excellence) Awards.

Now in its tenth year, the goal of TravelAge West’s WAVE Awards is to give travel agents in the West the opportunity to recognize the outstanding qualities and services of their top travel-supplier partners.

Founded in 1969 as the first exclusively oar-powered rafting company in the Grand Canyon, today O.A.R.S. runs first-class rafting, sea kayaking, hiking and multi-sport trips throughout the western U.S. and in 18 countries around the world, making them a diverse and accommodating force in adventure travel.

“O.A.R.S. offers people the support they need to access the most extraordinary natural wonders on the planet. From the recesses of the Grand Canyon to the storied rivers of the Himalaya, our small-group experiences put travelers back in touch with nature while restoring balance to over-connected lives,” said George Wendt, O.A.R.S. Founder and CEO ( “Our guides take a lot of pride in exposing people to the places they care about. Without our knowledgeable and professional guides, many people could never experience the places O.A.R.S. travels.”

The Editor’s Picks were chosen by Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Shapiro and the entire editorial team of TravelAge West. Review methods included product analysis, on-site visits, a survey of a select group of travel agents and online research.

“It’s really exciting to be celebrating the WAVE Awards’ 10th anniversary,” said Shapiro. “The number of awards continues to grow from year to year as we recognize new categories and new companies, but the goal remains the same: to acknowledge the favorite suppliers and destinations of Western agents.”

In addition to this distinction, Editor’s Pick honorees are also in the running for a WAVE Award, to be determined by a TravelAge West readers’ choice poll conducted during the month of April. The voting is open to readers of the print and online publication, and will be available at

Editor’s Pick recipients will be celebrated at the WAVE Awards Gala on June 11 at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina Del Rey, CA, where the readers’ choice winners will be announced as well. TravelAge West will include a special WAVE Awards section in the July 6 issue, highlighting award winners.

“To be included with so many leaders in the travel industry is truly an honor,” said Steve Markle, O.A.R.S. Director of Sales and Marketing. “But most important to us is that this award recognizes the ‘we go the extra mile’ philosophy of our talented staff and guides.”


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