May 3, 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 May Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Barrow really sticks with visitors
2. Orphaned seal brought to Alaska SeaLife Center
3. Some new twists offered on the Kenai
4. Become a pro whale watcher
5. Follow #Alaska tour operators on Twitter


1. Barrow really sticks with visitors

Alaska is no stranger to quirky festivals and contests, and the community of Barrow is no exception. Last month, the town celebrated its second annual Duct Tape Dress Contest, which challenges contenders to create and wear garments made of the sticky material. The Duct Tape-clad competitors modeled garments of green, crimson and, of course, classic silver. While it’s too late to catch this year’s Duct Tape competition, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Barrow this summer. Tundra Tours, Inc., offers a variety of Arctic experiences in Barrow, located 340 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Guests can sightsee along the Arctic Ocean while learning about Barrow and its residents, watch traditional Native dances, participate in the a traditional blanket toss and visit with local artists while they create baleen baskets, ivory carvings and other unique crafts. Visitors can even take the Tundra Tours’ polar bear plunge into the Chukchi Sea. For more information, visit www.tundratoursinc.com.

Media information
Contact: Dawn Kimberlin, Top of the World Tours
Phone: (907) 273-2477
E-mail: dawn.kimberlin@nmsusa.com
URL: www.tundratoursinc.com



2. Orphaned seal brought to Alaska SeaLife Center

It’s not unusual for the Alaska SeaLife Center to receive orphaned seal pups, but the most recent addition came special delivery from the Bristol Bay region. After a local resident discovered an orphaned sea pup, he contacted the SeaLife Center’s hotline for stranded marine mammals and birds. With the help of some caring community members, the newborn pup was on his way to the SeaLife Center in Seward. The pup, Maxwell, has responded well to food and care, and veterinarians hope to give him a second chance at life as a wild harbor seal. The Alaska SeaLife Center operates the only permanent facility in Alaska that is licensed to hold stranded marine mammals and seabirds for rehabilitation. Visitors to the SeaLife Center can get up close to marine wildlife, including a 2,000-pound Steller sea lion, puffins, king crab, giant Pacific octopus and more harbor seals like Maxwell. For more information, visit www.alaskasealife.org.

Media information
Contact: Amy Haddow, Alaska SeaLife Center
Phone: (907) 224-6304
Twitter: @AlaskaSeaLife
E-mail: amy_haddow@alaskasealife.org
URL: www.alaskasealife.org


3. Some new twists offered on the Kenai

The Kenai Peninsula may be one of Alaska’s best-known playgrounds, but there is no shortage of new ways to explore it. This summer, the Cooking School at Tutka Bay debuts near Homer and adjacent to Tutka Bay Lodge, the newest adventure lodge acquired by Within the Wild Adventure Company. Day-trip guests can join co-owner and Chef Kirsten Dixon at the school to learn the secrets of Kachemak Bay cuisine. Budding chefs will enjoy preparing and eating lunch and then spend the afternoon exploring the lodge property. For more information on the cooking school and Tutka Bay Lodge, visit www.withinthewild.com/tutka-bay-lodge. Additionally, Alaska Wildland Adventures is offering a new eight-day vacation that encompasses all three of the operator’s adventure lodges on the Peninsula, including Kenai Riverside Lodge, Kenai Backcountry Lodge and Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge. This new trip is a limited offering with only four departures in 2010. For more information, visit alaskawildland.com/wild-alaska-value-vacation.htm.

Media information
Contact: Kirsten Dixon, Within the Wild Adventure Company
Phone: (907) 274-2710
E-mail: Kirsten@withinthewild.com
URL: www.withinthewild.com

Contact: Heather Dudick, Alaska Wildland Adventures
Phone: (907) 783-2928
Twitter: @Alaska_Wildland
E-mail: heather@alaska-wildland.com
URL: www.Alaskawildland.com



4. Become a pro whale watcher

Travelers now have a resource to help them get to know the humpback whales of Alaska’s Inside Passage. Researchers at the Sitka campus of the University of Alaska Southeast and Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve have created an online photo catalog of nearly 2,000 humpback whale tails, called flukes. Similar to fingerprints, humpback flukes have markings that are unique to each, making it easy for observers to identify particular whales. This new online catalog is available just in time to begin spotting humpbacks and other whales while enjoying boating excursions in Sitka Sound in the summer months. A selection of whale watching tours out of Sitka can be found at www.sitka.org or to search for whale watching tours throughout the state, go to www.TravelAlaska.com.

Media information
Contact: Sandy Lorrigan, Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 747-5940
E-mail: director@sitka.org
URL: www.sitka.org



5. Follow #Alaska tour operators on Twitter

Ready to start booking an Alaska trip? Follow Alaska tour operators on Twitter: @AlaskaExperts (Alaska Tour and Travel), @Salmonberrytour, @AlaskaCoachTour, @Alaska_Wildland and @akrr (Alaska Railroad Corp.).