March 2, 2010


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.

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In this March Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Alaska pilots take to the skies for Valdez air show
2. 2010 off to a high note for Sitka
3. Moon rock lands at Anchorage Museum
4. Gustavus Inn honored by prestigious James Beard Foundation
5. Follow #Alaska lodges on Twitter


1. Alaska pilots take to the skies for Valdez air show

Not your average air show, the Valdez May Day Fly-In is quickly becoming one of the largest small-plane air shows in the region. Once a year, the runway at Valdez Pioneer Field — with a permanent occupancy of just 10-15 planes — buzzes with the engines of up to 300 planes from around Alaska, Canada and the Lower 48. Spectators crowd onto the runway to watch bush pilots face off in a variety of competitive flying events. Competitions include the Poker Run, where pilots touch down in different Prince William Sound communities and receive a card for their poker hand in each location; a take off/landing competition, testing the distance it takes each pilot to lift off and land on the runway; and the Flour Drop, where pilots drop a sack of flour from the air in attempt to hit a bull’s eye pained on the runway. Visitors can also enjoy aerobatic performances, Coast Guard rescue demos, skydivers, live music, airplane rides, vendors and more. The sixth annual May Day Fly-In hits the skies of Valdez Friday, May 7 through Sunday, May 9. For more information, visit www.valdezalaska.org.

Media information
Contact: Dave Petersen, Valdez Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 835-2984
Twitter: @ValdezInfo
E-mail: dpetersen@valdezalaska.org
URL: www.valdezalaska.org



2. 2010 off to a high note for Sitka

2010 is a big year for Sitka, Alaska. Not only will residents celebrate the centennial of the Sitka National Historical Park on March 23, but the town was declared one of the 2010 Dozen Distinctive Destinations by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The trust annually recognizes a selection of U.S. cities that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from those found at the typical vacation destination — from dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and a commitment to historic preservation. In March, Sitka has even more cause for celebration as it observes the 100th anniversary of the Sitka National Historical Park. Festivities will kick off on March 20 and continue throughout the year to include the presentation of a Raven’s Tail Robe, a historical photograph exhibit, a carnival, dance performances, the raising of a centennial totem pole on July 24 and an international conference on Russian America August 18-22. For more information, visit www.sitka.org or www.nps.gov/sitk.

Media information
Contact: Sandy Lorrigan, Sitka Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 747-5940

E-mail: director@sitka.org
URL: www.sitka.org

Contact: John Quinley, National Park Service, Alaska Region
Phone: (907) 644-3512
Twitter: @SitkaNPS
E-mail: john_quinley@nps.gov
URL: www.nps.gov/Alaska


3. Moon rock lands at Anchorage Museum

A moon rock isn’t a common sight in Alaska, but visitors to the Anchorage Museum this spring will see just that. The 3.3-billion-year-old rock is on loan by the Johnson Space Center — the first moon rock ever loaned to an Alaska museum by NASA — and will be on display when the final phase of the Anchorage Museum expansion opens this spring. It weighs four ounces (about the size of a plum) and was cut from a 21-pound rock collected by astronaut Dave Scott during the 1971 Apollo 15 mission. The rock will be on display in the museum’s new Imaginarium Discovery Center, which opens May 22 as part of the museum’s 90,000-square-foot expansion project. The completed expansion doubles the museum in size and also includes the new Smithsonian Arctic Studies Center, a new restaurant and an expanded gift shop. For more information, visit www.anchoragemuseum.org.

Media information
Contact: Sarah Henning, Public Relations Coordinator
Phone: (907) 929-9231
Twitter: @AnchorageMuseum
E-mail: shenning@anchoragemuseum.org
URL: www.anchoragemuseum.org



4. Gustavus Inn honored by prestigious James Beard Foundation

Last month, the James Beard Foundation announced the five honorees for the 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards in the America’s Classics category. Among them, Alaska’s own Gustavus Inn, located in the Inside Passage town of Gustavus and adjacent to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The award recognizes locally owned restaurants that have been open at least 10 years and offer timeless appeal and quality food that reflects the character of the community. Owned by the Lesh family for three generations, Gustavus Inn exemplifies these qualities through family-style meals offering fresh produce from the inn’s own garden and a selection of seafood harvested from the nearby Alaska waters. The renovated, historic homestead that accommodates 30 guests stands out against the Gustavus landscape, a small town of just 400 residents that was developed during World War II. Gustavus is known as the gateway to Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, where independent travelers can stay overnight and take a day cruise to see 16 tidewater glaciers, snow-capped mountain ranges, coastal beaches and rich marine life. Gustavus Inn and the other winners will be honored at an event in New York City on May 3. For more information, visit www.gustavusinn.com.

Media information
Contact: JoAnn and David Lesh, Gustavus Inn
Phone: (800) 649-5220
Twitter: @GustavusInn
E-mail: Dave@GustavusInn.com
URL: www.gustavusinn.com



5. Follow #Alaska lodges on Twitter

To stay up-to-date on Alaska lodging deals and property news, look for some of Alaska’s most popular lodges, hotels and bed and breakfasts on Twitter. Follow @Alaska_Wildland (Alaska Wildland Advenutres), @AngelsRest (Angel’s Rest on Resurrection Bay), @knikriverlodge, @HotelSeward, @ResortAlyeska, @GoldenNuggetRV, @landsendresort and @R5Sons (Rainy Pass Lodge).

For lodges in the Inside Passage, follow @FishingResort (Waterfall Resort), @SalteryLodge , @TakuLodge, @GustavusInn.

For places to stay in the Interior, keep up-to-date with @FairbanksHotels (Fountainhead Resort), @PikesLodge , @HamptonFrbnksAK (Hampton Inn and Suites Fairbanks).