October 4, 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 October Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. Alaska’s ice artists shine on the big screen
2. Sitka makes room for large cruise ships
3. Traditional Tlingit canoe launched near Haines
4. View the aurora with the wind in your face
5. Follow #Alaska winter destinations on Twitter and Facebook

1. Alaska’s ice artists shine on the big screen

Ice artists are getting their time in the limelight from a cable program about the World Ice Art Championships. Airing last month on TLC, the program “Chainsaw Ice Sculptors: Challenge Alaska” follows four teams over the course of six days during the annual championship event in Fairbanks. Those who missed the TLC program can catch the action live at this year’s event Feb. 22 – March 27, 2011. The competition welcomes around 100 sculptors, representing all 50 states and more than 35 countries and also features a kids park with interactive sculptures. Even sooner, North Pole’s Christmas in Ice event kicks off Nov. 26, featuring Christmas-themed ice art sculptures by local and international artists and a children’s park featuring an ice maze, ice slides and more. For more information on attending either of these events, visit www.explorefairbanks.com.

Media information
Contact: Deb Hickok, Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau 

Phone: (907) 457-3282 X 3770
Twitter: @InsideAlaska
E-mail: dhickok@explorefairbanks.com

URL: www.explorefairbanks.com

2. Sitka makes room for large cruise ships

Sitka has a lot to offer cruise passengers — from totem poles and Russian heritage to whale watching and fishing — and soon the town will finally have a dock that can accommodate the large ships. Currently, small ships can tie up in downtown Sitka but larger vessels have to anchor up in deeper water and transport passengers to shore on small boats. The length of the new dock will be around 1,000 feet and include a vehicle access ramp connected to the shore. The original capital of Alaska, Sitka is known for its cultural and historical attractions, including the Sitka National Historical Park (celebrating its centennial in 2010) and the beloved Saint Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Construction of the new dock is slated for completion in spring 2011. For more information on visiting Sitka, go to www.sitka.org.

Media information
Contact: Sandy Lorrigan, Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau

Phone: (907) 747-5940
E-mail: director@sitka.org

URL: www.sitka.org

3. Traditional Tlingit canoe launched near Haines

The Chilkat Tlingits of Klukwan near Haines recently launched a slice of history in the form of a traditional canoe. The 36-foot carved sea-going canoe is a style that hasn’t been seen in the region for about two centuries. The red cedar vessel seats 15 passengers and has thin, long ends useful for long-distance travel. The “longtail” design was popular when Europeans first arrived in Alaska’s Inside Passage region 200 years ago but fell out of favor as the need for vessels with greater maneuverability for warfare increased. Since launching the 350-pound canoe last month, the Chilkats are hoping to use it for canoe demonstrations and races throughout the Inside Passage. Visitors can explore more of the history and culture of the Chilkat Indians with Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Tours in Klukwan. Tours travel the National Scenic Byway 22 miles through the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve; visit a replica of a Long House and more. The museum, slated for completion in 2012 will feature historically significant artifacts and various works of art. For more information, visit http://visitklukwan.com.

Media information
Contact: Evangeline Hoy, Jilkaat Kwaan Cultural Tours
Phone: (907) 766-3930

E-mail: Evangeline@visitklukwan.com
URL: http://visitklukwan.com

4. View the aurora with the wind in your face

Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours and Alaska Snow Safaris are teaming up to offer a new winter adventure, the Northern Lights Expedition. The multi-day snowmobile tour takes travelers miles into the lake country of the Mat-Su Valley. Guests spend the night in a cozy lodge on the Yentna River offering all the amenities of a full-service hotel and in prime positioning for northern lights viewing. Options for ice fishing are also available; an activity that often catches the attention of bald eagles in the area. For more information on this new tour, visit www.youralaskavacation.com . The Mat-Su Valley presents a multitude of winter recreation options, from ice fishing and snowmobiling to dog sledding and some of the earliest pre-season skiing in the country. For more information, visit www.youralaskavacation.com.

Media information
Contact: Craig Saunders, Alaska Backcountry Adventure Tours

Phone: (907) 745-2505
E-mail: info@youralaskavacation.com
URL: www.youralaskavacation.com

5. Follow #Alaska travel experts

Visit some of Alaska’s winter destinations through their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds, or learn more about all of Alaska’s winter providers and experiences online at www.travelalaska.com/Things%20To%20Do/Winter%20Activities.aspx.

Facebook - "Seymour of Anchorage"
Twitter - @BigWildLife

Facebook - "Valdez Alaska"
Twitter - @ValdezInfo

Faceook - "Inside Alaska - Fairbanks CVB"
Twitter - @Inside Alaska

Facebook - "Explore Juneau"
Twitter - @VisitJuneau

Twitter - @HainesTourism

Kenai Peninsula
Facebook - "The Kenai, Alaska's Playground"
Twitter - @VisitKenai

Mat-Su Valley
Facebook - "Visit Alaska's Mat-Su Valley"
Twitter - @VisitMatSu