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GCI Scholarships Send 15 Tourism Businesses to ATIA Convention


The Alaska Travel Industry Association has announced the winners of 15 scholarships provided by GCI to help facilitate attendance at the 2010 ATIA Convention and Trade Show in Whitehorse, Yukon.

The recipients represent small and rural tourism businesses from across the state that might otherwise not be able to attend the annual convention. The convention to be held October 4-8, 2010 features industry information and planning discussions, business development workshops and networking opportunities.

Scholarship recipients include:

·     William Brent, owner of the Admiralty Westside Lodge, located near Juneau.
·     Melanie Lesh, marketing director of the Gustavus Visitors Association.
·     John Baker, owner of Afishunt Charters in Ninilchik, located on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula.
·     Andy Morrison, managing member of the Alaska Backcountry Access LLC based out of Girdwood.
·     Juxia Scarpitta, owner of Alaska Private Lodgings located in Homer.
·     Sue and Gorden Isaacs, owner of Beaver Creek Bed and Breakfast located in Dillingham.
·     Natasha Ala, executive director of the Kenai Convention and Visitors Bureau.
·     Mike Davis, co-owner of Denali ATV Adventures in Fairbanks.
·     Rick McMahan, owner of Denali Fly Fishing Guides LLC in Cantwell.
·     Paul Dauphinais, executive director of the Homer Chamber of Commerce.
·     Dan McDonough, owner of Lifetime Adventures in Palmer.
·     Richard Beneville, owner of Nome Discovery Tours in Nome.
·     Dick Wenger, who conducts marketing for Rika’s Roadhouse and Landing in Delta Junction.
·     Pat Melone, co-owner of the Spyglass Inn Bed and Breakfast in Homer.
·     Glen Hemingson, Inn Keeper at the Copper Whale Inn in downtown Anchorage.

“Cost often plays a role in whether or not a business is able to attend convention,” said James Minton, director of member services and communications for ATIA. “The GCI scholarships will offset $350 of travel and lodging costs as well as provide free registration for one delegate, a total value of $700. That goes a long way towards making convention possible for these 15 businesses.”

All the winners represent rural tourism businesses, businesses that have not attended the convention in the past three years or businesses that have less than $500,000 in annual gross receipts. Applicants were required to be Alaska residents but did not need to be current ATIA members.

ATIA is a non-profit, membership-based organization made up of all facets of Alaska’s visitor industry and represents over 1,100 large and small travel-related businesses. The association serves as the voice of Alaska’s tourism industry and maintains the TravelAlaska.com website for visitors interested in the state.

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