WASHINGTON -- Dozens of diplomats from around the world will be headed to Alaska this summer as part of a four-day trip to showcase this country's unique places.
The trip is part of a State Department initiative called "Experience America" that gives diplomats stationed in the United States a chance to see parts of the country they might not visit as part of their mission.
The program began in the Bush administration to introduce diplomats to the America beyond the nation's capital. But beyond displaying the diversity of American culture, the trips also are designed to foster tourism and business connections, said the State Department's Kamyl Bazbaz.
"We organize these Experience America trips to get these ambassadors outside of the Beltway to experience the true character and the people of the United States," Bazbaz said.
The State Department polled diplomats on what part of America they'd most like to see in this trip, Bazbaz said, and Alaska topped the list. The State Department expects 70 diplomats to make the journey at the end of June.
In Alaska, the diplomats will spend two days in Anchorage. They'll also travel to Prudhoe Bay to see energy production in Alaska, and to Barrow, the country's northernmost town, for a glimpse of the Arctic Ocean. They'll also visit Girdwood and Seward.
By ERIKA BOLSTAD