The Alaska Marine Highway System ferry Taku is in storage at Ketchikan’s Ward Cove. It’s been sold to a Portland company that wants to turn it into a hotel. (Photo by Leila Kheiry/KRBD)The Alaska ferry Taku’s next life will be as a floating hotel.Listen nowPortland-based KeyMar LLC made the winning bid of $300,000 for the 54-year-old ship.Marine Highway System General Manager John Falvey said KeyMar beat out two other bidders, who wanted to scrap the ship.“Their plan is to do some renovation on the Taku and turn it into a destination hotel and waterfront activities center,” Falvey said.The competing companies offered $50,000 each. The bidding deadline was Sept. 15.The Taku is tied up at Ketchikan’s Ward Cove. Falvey says it will be towed to Portland after the sale goes through and the new owner takes possession. That date has not been set.Falvey said the ferry system has removed the Taku’s art and safety gear.“Half a million dollars’ worth of equipment is being distributed to active ships in the fleet as needed, as we speak. And some of the equipment will be used for the two Alaska Class ferries,” Falvey said.Those new, smaller ships are being built at the Ketchikan Shipyard.State officials have been trying to sell the Taku since spring of this year. It was first priced at $1.5 million, then at $700,000.The latest minimum price was not made public. Falvey said it was $350,000, more than the winning bid, but close enough.The Taku was built in 1963. It was tied up in 2015 as the ferry system looked for ways to balance its budget.
After recent growth in international visitor numbers, South Australia is set to see further increases through more investment in destination marketing with a focus on attracting a larger share of the tourism dollar.South Australia welcomes 390,000 international visitors each year and over the past seven years, international tourism’s contribution to the State’s economy has risen from 14 per cent to 17 percent.Australian Tourism Export Council (ATEC) managing director Peter Shelley said these figures are ones South Australia can build on.“South Australia has a strong story to tell additional; investment in marketing South Australia both interstate and internationally will help build on the solid growth in international expenditure we have seen in the past 12 months,” Mr Shelley said.The State’s tourism industry leaders gathered in Adelaide this week to discuss ways to improve the reputation of South Australia as an international travel destination.Mr Shelley said a wide range of industry leaders were involved in the forum, including accommodation and tour providers, government agencies, ATEC National Board members and representatives of the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC).“What was clear from our discussions is the industry and government must collaborate to remove barriers such as visa processes, to target and improve international marketing and to maximise the benefits to the SA economy including more jobs and expenditure,” he said.The decision to focus more heavily on destination marketing has been applauded by the industry.ATEC chairman Denis Pierce praised the South Australia government, in particular, for their support.“South Australia has a lot going for it and the government has invested in quality infrastructure improvements including extensions to the conference and exhibition centre, the impressive Adelaide Oval and the Riverbank precinct,” Mr Pierce said.“These large scale offerings combined with several new hotels either approved or under construction, and solid growth in airline capacity into Adelaide from a range of international carriers, all contribute to a solid foundation for future growth.”Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinson