November 1, 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 November Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. New Alaska cruise line to launch in spring 2011
2. Alaska autos turn heads
3. Aurora season has visitors watching the skies
4. Archeologists unearth 700-year-old Yup’ik history
5. Top tweets of the month


1. New Alaska cruise line to launch in spring 2011

Alaska-based Allen Marine Tours announced last week its plans to launch a new small-ship cruise line, Alaskan Dream Cruises, next spring. The new fleet will include two former Cruise West vessels that became available after the company shut down in September 2010, ending a legacy in small ship cruising in the state. The new three-ship cruise line will focus on wildlife, culture and sustainable travel. The two former Cruise West ships, each with the capacity for 78 passengers, will be named the Admiralty Dream and Baranof Dream and join a third vessel, a 49-passenger catamaran to be called the Alaska Dream. Alaskan Dream Cruises will launch in May 2011 and offer eight-day trips from Sitka and include stops at Inside Passage destinations such as Icy Strait Point, Point Adolphus, Hobart Bay, Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay National Park. For more information on Allen Marine Tours, visit www.allenmarinetours.com.

Media information
Contact: Noel DeChambeau, Allen Marine Tours 


Phone: (425) 239-2422
E-mail: noeldechambeau@gmail.com

URL: media.alaskandreamcruises.com


2. Alaska autos turn heads

Alaska may seem like an unlikely place to end up in the automobile limelight, but one couple in Wasilla has achieved just that with their handmade Radio Flyer car. The vehicle is made out of a full-sized 1976 Mazda pickup truck, converted into a replica of the beloved childhood wagon, and it turns heads everywhere they drive it. Catching a glimpse of the Radio Flyer car isn’t the only way visitors can experience automotive heritage in Alaska. The 30,000-square-foot Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum in Fairbanks has 75 historically significant American automobiles, including carriages, steam cars, brass-era autos, luxurious 1930s sedans and oddities such as early electric cars, midget racers and cycle cars. The collection showcases the interesting heritage of the automobile during Alaska’s post-Gold Rush era. For more information, visit www.fountainheadmuseum.com. Over in Wasilla, the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry houses Alaska transportation artifacts including a train yard, antique cars and planes, mining and drilling equipment and more. Visit http://museumofalaska.org to learn more.

Media information
Contact: Nancy DeWitt, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum


Phone: (907) 458-6112

Twitter: @AKcarmuseum
E-mail: projects@fdifairbanks.com


URL: www.fountainheadmuseum.com

Contact: Casey Ressler, Mat-Su Convention and Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 746-5037

Twitter: @VisitMatSu
E-mail: casey@alaskavisit.com




URL: www.AlaskaVisit.com


3. Aurora season has visitors watching the skies

It’s officially aurora season and Alaska’s Interior and Arctic regions are in full operation to share the cosmic light show with visitors. Northern Alaska Tour Company, based in Fairbanks, offers multiple excursions above the Arctic Circle for a chance to see the northern lights. Guests can choose from different combinations of air and land travel to reach Coldfoot camp, a truck stop and motel along the Dalton Highway, while taking in views of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, the Yukon River and the Brooks Range. Overnight tours range from three to four days offering additional adventures from Coldfoot, including dog sledding and exploration of nearby villages. Day tours are timed to return to Fairbanks between 1 and 3 a.m., during optimal aurora viewing hours. For more information, visit www.northernalaska.com. While clear skies and darkness are essential to see the aurora, Alaska’s Arctic region is in prime geographical positioning for auroral activity. Travelers can check the online aurora forecast updated daily by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute at www.gedds.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast.

Media information
Contact: Kathy Hedges, Northern Alaska Tour Company
Phone: (907) 474-8600

E-mail: adventure@northernalaska.com
URL: www.northernalaska.com


4. Archeologists unearth 700-year-old Yup’ik history

Archeologists in Southwest Alaska have uncovered a treasure trove of ancient Alaska Native objects in what’s being referred to as the first large-scale excavation in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. Workers discovered dozens of sod homes just under the tundra that have long been locked in ice, and within them found thousands of objects ranging from bentwood bowls, knives with handles, clay pots and carved figures, tools and even hair strands. The 700-year-old items are currently being analyzed in Scotland but will eventually return to Alaska. For now, travelers who are interested in seeing Yup’ik artifacts can visit the Yupiit Piciryarait Museum in Bethel, housing art, photos, artifacts and more (www.ypmuseum.org). Or further north in Kotzebue, the newly completed Northwest Arctic Heritage Center (www.nps.gov/kova/parknews/nwahc.htm) houses visitor services and an exhibit hall. And Anchorage’s Alaska Native Heritage Center in Anchorage shares Alaska’s rich heritage through workshops, demonstrations, exhibits and guided tours of indoor exhibits and outdoor village sites (www.alaskanative.net)

Media information
Contact: Mary Woods, Yupiit Piciryarait Museum

Phone: (907) 543-1819
E-mail: mwoods@avcp.org
URL: www.ypmuseum.org

Contact: John Quinley, NPS/Northwest Arctic Heritage Center 

Phone: (907) 644-3512

Twitter: @AlaskaNPS
E-mail: john_quinley@nps.gov

URL: www.nps.gov/Alaska

Contact: David Farve, Alaska Native Heritage Center 

Phone: (907) 330-8055

E-mail: dfarve@alaskanative.net

URL: www.alaskanative.net


5. Top tweets of the month

Don’t miss these and other Tweets displaying Alaska news, facts, photos and more by following @Alaskatravlnews on Twitter.

1. Hotel Chitina: history, comfort, 1 heck of a location + a backstory that'll make u cry, says @evaholland http://bit.ly/9fFzBD #Alaska

2. How did the #Alaska tourism industry fare this summer? Bed tax numbers are up statewide. Read more: http://bit.ly/aNU0RP via @BigWildLife

3. An #Alaska bear with super powers? RT @Janelle_IT_Blog @IntelligentTrav: The Incredible Flying Bear http://bit.ly/a2oEuj

4. @USATODAYTravel lists 51 great burger joints. In #Alaska it’s all about the Arctic Roadrunner. http://usat.ly/9FnIXL (via @Travelanswerman)