Travel Weekly's Alaska E-letter: Oct. 3, 2007

THE HOTEL GROUP in Edmonds, Wash., said it was tapped to manage three hotels under construction in Alaska, bringing its portfolio in the state to nine. The new properties are being developed by A&A Construction and Development. The new properties are a yet-to-be-named, 166-room full-service hotel at the Anchorage Airport (scheduled to open in fall 2008); a 106-room Holiday Inn Express Fairbanks (scheduled to open next summer); and the Holiday Inn Express Seward Harbor, which is being expanded to 91 rooms and will feature new meeting rooms and retail space by the time work is completed next spring.


UPON COMPLETION OF THESE PROJECTS, THG will manage nearly 1,000 hotel rooms in Alaska and expects to add approximately 100 full-time and seasonal employees, said Tammy Griffin, THG's director of operations. "A steady increase in tourism and commerce with the nearly completed Anchorage Convention Center and the prospect of a gas pipeline agreement have contributed to the additional demand for quality hotels in Alaska," Griffin said. In Alaska, THG currently owns or manages the Holiday Inn Express Anchorage Airport, Microtel Inn & Suites Anchorage Airport, Comfort Inn Ship Creek, Fairfield Inn & Suites and Motel 6, all in Anchorage; the Comfort Inn Chena River in Fairbanks; and the Holiday Inn Express in Seward Harbor. Visit

ALASKA AIRLINES said it would test a satellite-based, in-flight, wireless Internet system on one of its aircraft next year with the goal of adding wireless Internet to its entire fleet by the end of 2009. The airline said it would install Westlake Village, Calif.-based Row 44 Inc.'s broadband service on a Boeing 737 jet next spring. If the system works, all of its 114 planes would receive it. Customers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, smart phones, personal digital assistants and gaming systems would be able to connect to the system through wireless hot spots in the aircraft cabin. Row 44's system is designed to work over water and across international borders. Alaska said it is researching pricing options for the service ranging from free service to day passes. If the system works, Alaska would become the first U.S. carrier to have wireless Internet capabilities on its entire fleet.

THE KODIAK NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGE VISITOR CENTER is scheduled to open this month near the Kodiak waterfront and the Kodiak Visitor Information Center. The new center will include many exhibits on marine and terrestrial flora and fauna of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, including the famous Kodiak brown bear. One of the new center's major exhibits will be a massive skeleton of a rearticulated gray whale. The whale washed up on the beach in Kodiak in 2000. The gray whale skeleton will hang in a two-story entry area with stairs and a wraparound balcony that will enable visitors to view the skeleton from many angles. Visit

Alaska Editor: Jorge Sidron

Phone: (973) 898-0011

[email protected]

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