Six leaders in the travel industry, two businesses and a destination marketing organization were honored this year by the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA).
Alyeska Award – McKinley Chalet Resort
This award is presented to a business or organization for outstanding leadership, professional excellence, and group contribution to the Alaska travel industry.
Over the past three years, Holland America has refreshed the guest experience at the 60-acre McKinley Chalet Resort and this year opened Denali Square, a gathering place for guests to relax, do some shopping or enjoy a show. The complex has an amphitheater with a covered performance stage and bench seating where guests will be able to enjoy a variety of local shows, ranger talks and other events. Guests who want to get a drink and listen to live music can stop in at the Gold Nugget Saloon, home to the Music of Denali Dinner Theater.
Denali Award – John and Alison Dunlap
This award is presented to a living individual for his or her outstanding leadership, professional excellence, and personal contribution to the Alaska travel industry. John and Alison own Sitka Sound Ocean Adventures which offers guided half- and full-day sea kayak tours, guided multi-day expeditions, kayak skills instruction and kayak rentals and sales.
Spirit of Alaska Award – Erin Kirkland
This award will be presented to an individual or business who has demonstrated exceptional efforts to support a local community, charity or other organization outside the travel industry. Erin writes a blog and has now published a book on how to help families make the most of their Alaska travel. AlaskaFind has over 300 pages filled with insightful travel tips, community highlights, photos, fun parent and kid quotes, maps and the sort of advice only an Alaska parent and experienced traveler can provide. Alaska on the GO: “Exploring the 49th State with Children” is written in Erin Kirkland’s usual style with a blend of humor and sincerity that makes this travel book a joy to read, while being a valuable tool to help your family make the most of your Alaska adventure.
Stan Stephens Stewardship Award – Bob Janes & Dawn Wolfe
This award commemorates the passion and dedication that Stan Stephens lived by in his commitment to safeguard a place he loved dearly. Stan was a meticulous steward of Prince William Sound and after the Exxon Valdez oil spill, publicly declared that he would dedicate the rest of his life to making sure the area was protected. Bob and Dawn own and operate Gastineau Guiding Co., which offers whale watching and hiking shore excursions in Juneau.
Special Recognition Award – Visit Anchorage
The special recognition award is granted periodically to an individual or business who has made substantial contributions to the tourism industry in Alaska. The recognition may be due to the individual’s personal efforts on behalf of the industry or through the efforts of a tourism related businesses that have positively enhanced Alaska tourism and travel. Visit Anchorage’s mission is to attract and serve visitors to the Municipality of Anchorage.
Rod Bradley Golden Oosik Award – Norton Sound Seafood House in the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport
This award is presented, in good humor, to an individual, a company, an agency, a community, or other identifiable unit for an error, a blooper, an oversight or other humorous circumstance that has emerged during the past year. Norton Sound’s signage featured Atlantic salmon, not the Alaska salmon they actually serve.
Special Recognition Award – Kathy Dunn
The special recognition award is granted periodically to an individual or business who has made substantial contributions to the tourism industry in Alaska. The recognition may be due to the individual’s personal efforts on behalf of the industry or through the efforts of a tourism related businesses that have positively enhanced Alaska tourism and travel. Kathy is vice president of marketing and sales for ATIA and previously was executive director of the Alaska Tourism Marketing Council.
Visitor Industry Hall of Fame Award – Tom Tougas
The award was re-instituted by ATIA as an expansion of AVA’s Hall of Fame. It is conferred upon an individual for a lifetime of leadership, passion and commitment to Alaska’s travel and visitor industry. Some of the industry icons in the Hall of Fame include: Frank Ashida, Jim Binkley, Mary Binkley, Bob Dindinger, Kirk Lanterman, Brad Phillips, Chuck West and Bob and Betty Allen.
Tom owns and operates Major Marine Tours, which offers day tours in Kenai Fjords National Park and Prince William Sound, the Holiday Inn Express in Seward and is a member of the First National Bank of Alaska Board of Directors.