A new campaign to promote tourism to Alaska is reminding would-be travelers that if they plan to visit the 49th state, they'd better do so before it is swallowed up by the ocean. High-profile ads being displayed in Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis feature a picture of a classic Alaska license plate and an irresistible vanity message: "Alaska B4ITMELTS"
By Cole Walters
A state once known for arctic tundra gets a tropical makeover
SEATTLE, WA—Been putting off visiting Alaska because of fears that the 49th state is too cold? Think again. This newly tropical destination features warm temps and waterfront views—from nearly every direction. Now a new campaign to promote tourism to Alaska is reminding would-be travelers to hurry up and visit the formerly arctic state before it melts into the ocean. To get the point across, the campaign has erected giant billboards in Seattle, Los Angeles and Minneapolis, featuring a picture of a classic Alaska license plate and an irresistible vanity message: "Alaska B4ITMELTS."
'The Temporary State'
Tourism officials in the state once known for glaciers and arctic tundra say that their goal is to convince tourists that if they want to experience Alaska for themselves, they'd better hurry up. "If you're planning a trip here, that's great," says Cedric Sewall, a spokesperson for Warm Welcome Alaska, a tourism group that helped to develop the 'B4ITMELTS' ad campaign. "Just don't put it off too long. If you've been married for five years and you're thinking maybe Alaska for a 20th anniversary trip, we're probably not going to be around then."
Bring your bikini
While the Alaska tourism board used to tell tourists to 'pack their parkas' before a trip to the famously frigid state, woolens are no longer necessary, say travel experts. Instead, visitors should 'bring their bikinis' to enjoy all of the water sports and other marine fun that this once frozen destination has to offer. And don't forget the sunscreen!
Fun for the kids
No trip to the new Alaska would be complete without a trip to the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. While you'll see the odd polar bear or seal bobbing atop the now underwater refuge on a slab of ice, the real attraction these days is the brand new ANWR oil development park. "It's a lot of fun for the kids," says park spokesman Bud Vails. "They can see miles of roads and pipeline being lain and they don't have to worry about stepping in caribou droppings."
Oil rigs at sunset
For more ambitious travelers, no visit to the largest state in the union would be complete without a day trip to see the extensive offshore natural gas developments that now dot the Alaskan coastline. Take in the dramatic vision of a towering rig thrown into stark relief by the setting sun—and take plenty of pictures to share with friends and family. Words alone can't describe the sense of piece and wellbeing that comes of watching the harvest of the deep repositories of oil and natural gas Alaska is known for.
Sipping the new state drink
If the mere thought of all of that sightseeing leaves you feeling thirsty, then it's a perfect time to enjoy the new Alaska state drink, a potent blend of gin and black Sambuca known as an Oil Slick. For those travelers who don't think they'll be able to make it to Alaska 'B4ITMELTS,' try this recipe at home.
Alaskan Oil Slick
2/3 ounce gin
1/3 ounce black Samubuca
Strain over ice and pour into martini-style glass.
Optional: In blender, combine ice and water until slushy. Top Alaskan Oil Slick with 'Snowball Slush.'