Welcome to the Alaska Travel Industry Association (AlaskaTIA) Travel News Bulletin. AlaskaTIA sends this out periodically to keep media up-to-date on Alaska tourism and travel news. Media are invited to call (800) 327-9372 or visit www.TravelAlaska.com/media for more information.
Alaska Travel Industry Association
May 2, 2011

In this May Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. New ferry service from Bellingham to Whittier
2. 50th anniversary of Alaska's most famous Native games
3. New ghost tour gives Anchorage travelers the chills
4. Ketchikan fishing derby casts a line for charity

1. New ferry service from Bellingham to Whittier

For the first time, the Alaska Marine Highway System will run a route every other week from Bellingham, Wash., to Whittier, Alaska. Previously, ferries departing Bellingham only traveled as far north as Haines, Alaska. The new route will place travelers just 60 miles south of Anchorage, where they can then access Southcentral and Interior Alaska via highway or the Alaska Railroad. Another new addition to the Alaska Marine Highway summer schedule is weekly service to the community of Gustavus, being added to the schedule for the first time in the system’s history. Gustavus is the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve and adjacent to the Tongass National Forest. For more information, visit www.FerryAlaska.com.

Media contact:
Contact: Danielle Adkins, Alaska Marine Highway System
Phone: 907-228-6836

Email: danielle.adkins@alaska.gov

URL: www.ferryalaska.com

2. 50th anniversary of Alaska’s most famous Native games
This July, athletes from across Alaska will convene in Fairbanks for the 50th anniversary of the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. The games replicate traditional survival skills that were essential to the lives of Alaska Natives living in the Far North. For instance, the Four Man Carry competition simulates the strength needed to carry heavy loads when hunting or packing wood and ice; the Indian Stick Pull strengthens the hands for grabbing fish out of a fish wheel; and the well-known Blanket Toss is thought to have been used for spotting game over the horizon. Along with the popular athletic competitions, travelers can catch spectator-friendly events such as Native dancing, story telling and the crowning of Miss WEIO. The event also features a marketplace of Native art, sold by the artists direct to buyers attending the event – often for less than it can be found in galleries and gift shops. The 50th annual World Eskimo Indian Olympics will be held at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks, July 20-23. For more information, visit www.weio.org/index.html.

Media contact:
Contact: Luke Gunderman, World Eskimo Indian Olympics
Phone: 907-452-6646
Email: gundermanl@hotmail.com
URL: www.weio.org/index.html

3. New ghost tour gives Anchorage travelers the chills
This summer, visitors can get a view of Anchorage’s supernatural side with Ghost Tours of Anchorage. Starting May 15, visitors can take part in the daily 90-minute walking tour of Alaska’s biggest city, revealing its eerie history through tales of historical events and ghostly happenings, many from the people who lived through them. The tour makes 13 stops along the 2.5-mile route through downtown Anchorage, ending at the Historic Anchorage Hotel, perhaps one of the most notable haunted hot spots. When it was built in 1916, the hotel was the city’s central meeting and gathering place and was frequently visited by dignitaries and celebrities traveling to the new Alaska territory. Many claim the hotel is still visited by spirits of the past, among them Anchorage’s first chief of police, Jack Sturgus, who was found shot in the back just steps from the hotel in 1921. Stories of ghostly happenings circulate at the hotel so frequently that a ghost log is available for guests to document their encounters. For more information on the Historic Anchorage Hotel, visit www.historicanchoragehotel.com. For booking information for Ghost Tours of Anchorage, visit www.ghosttoursofanchorage.com.
Media contacts:
Contact: Rick Goodfellow, Ghost Tours of Anchorage
Phone: 907-274-4678
E-mail: anchorageghosts@gmail.com
URL: www.ghosttoursofanchorage.com

Contact: Terri Russi, Historic Anchorage Hotel
Phone: 907-272-4553
Email: anchoragehotel@alaska.com
URL: www.historicanchoragehotel.com

4. Ketchikan fishing derby casts a line for charity
Ketchikan is debuting a new women’s fishing derby this summer, and raising money for a good cause in the process. The Think Alaskan Pink Ladies Classic will take place August 10-15 at the Clover Pass Resort, located 10 miles north of Ketchikan on the shores of Clover Passage, a corridor for salmon returning to their spawning grounds each summer. Ten percent of each entry fee will be donated to charity, split between breast cancer research and another charity of the derby winner’s choice. With their entry fee of $1,750 per person, ladies receive five nights accommodation, ground transfers, meals, guided fishing and workshops, bait and tackle and fish processing. The final day will include a one-day pink salmon fishing tournament. For more information, visit www.cloverpassresort.com/think-alaskan-pink.php.
Media contacts:
Contact: Michael Briggs, Clover Pass Resort
Phone: 907-821-8815 or 888-564-4525
Email: michael@aseresorts.com
URL: www.cloverpassresort.com/think-alaskan-pink.php

Contact: Patti Mackey, Ketchikan Visitors Bureau

Phone: 907-225-6166 

Twitter: @travelketchikan
E-mail: pmackey@visit-ketchikan.com
URL: www.visit-ketchikan.com
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Social Media Spotlight!

Warning: high cuteness factor ahead
Check out this adorable video of Mukluk the musk ox calf being introduced to a red ball at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center. (@akwildlife) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdB2-r5Cji0
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