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Family Travel Association Newsletter

FTA Welcomes Influx of Dude Ranch Members

Week of March 28, 2016

This is the newsletter of the Family Travel Association, a new coalition of leading family travel experts, media and companies coming together to create an industry voice that will transform the way families travel — charting a path for future generations of travelers.

Visit our newsletter archive for past issues.

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Family Travel Association News

Dude Ranchers Association and FTA Forge Productive Collaboration

Dude ranches are some of the best family vacation retreats available. Since we attended the Dude Ranchers’ Association’s annual conference in Cody, WY, over 50 of their ranch members have joined the FTA, in large part to promote their family-friendly services, but also to share best practices with us.

This influx of new members strengthens our resolve to inform, educate and inspire consumers with the breadth of family travel options available to them. It also demonstrates how a partnership between two like-minded associations can benefit members of both, amplifying opportunities to reach broader audiences. See below for a first round of introductions to our newest dude ranch members.

Dude Ranchers' Association

“The Dude Ranchers’ Association is very pleased with our membership’s response in support of the Family Travel Association. Both associations feel that travel is a such an important way for families to bond. Memories and connections are created that just can’t be made in any other way. We tip our hats in gratitude to the entire crew at the Family Travel Association.”
– Colleen Hodson, Executive Director, Dude Ranchers’ Association

Family Travel Webinars and Twitter Chats

April will be a busy month for digital sharing about family travel.

Understanding the Family Travel Market - Where the Opportunities Are

* Today, March 31, at 2pm EDT, FTA President Rainer Jenss will deliver a 60-minute webinar on 'Understanding the Family Travel Market - Where the Opportunities Are,' the first being hosted exclusively by the FTA. The intended audience is hotels, attractions, convention and visitors bureaus, state tourism departments and tourism associations. Register here.

* On April 13 at 3pm EDT, the editors behind TravelAge West and Family Getaways magazines are teaming up with Travel Weekly for a #TWChats Twitter chat about family travel. The FTA is co-hosting. Please follow @FamilyTravAssoc and join us then. Read more here.

* On April 20, FTA Executive Director Chez Chesak will join Robin Weber Pollak, President of Journeys International, for a free webinar about 'Adventure Travel: Transformative (and Fun!) Family Vacations' to discuss how family travel and adventure travel go hand in hand. Register here.

A Week of Meetings and Meetups

Last week, the full FTA team powwowed for two days in NYC, an important muster during which priorities were set for the rest of 2016. Having gathered, we put out a call to NY-area friends and associates to rally behind an informal meetup. Many thanks to everyone who came out (some of whom are pictured below), as well as to CzechTourism and the Affinity Hotel Collection for hosting our meetings, and to Bread Finance for sponsoring our meetup. We look forward to more in the months ahead.

FTA Meetup

FTA Spotlight Shifts to Traveling for Families with Special Needs

In the next step of our FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family campaign (download overview) we are searching for great resources about Traveling for Families with Special Needs.

FTA Spotlight

Children with special needs, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities, should be afforded the same opportunities as other children to travel, see new places and enjoy enriching experiences. However, parents routinely report how difficult it is to travel with their special-needs children. Efforts at continued improvement by the travel industry will ensure that more families can enjoy the benefits of travel.

Do you have strong feelings about this? We want to hear from you!

FTA Is Social - Share with Us

We’re busy on social media sharing about family travel. Join the conversation on Facebook (/familytravelassociation) and Twitter (@FamilyTravAssoc) and be sure to use the #familytravel hashtag!

Family Travel Association Membership

The Family Travel Association membership base continues to expand, drawing in new associations, media outlets, destinations, tour operators, corporate entities, cruise lines, lodgings and travel specialists.

Who Are Our Newest Members?

Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch
Bar Lazy J Guest Ranch
"We’re excited and proud to be part of the FTA as we recognize the ever-growing need for families to find places to reconnect with one another and unplug from the rest of the world."
– Jerry Helmickie, Owner
Colorado Trails Guest Ranch
Colorado Trails Guest Ranch
"We decided to join the Family Travel Association because the Colorado Trails Guest Ranch is all about bringing families together for the vacation of their lifetime. FTA targets families. It is a good mix."
– Jeanne Ross, General Manager
Deep Canyon Guest Ranch
Deep Canyon Guest Ranch
"After meeting Rainer and experiencing his enthusiasm for family travel, we wanted to be a part of what this organization is doing! We believe strongly in the value of family vacations and look forward to promoting our business through the FTA."
– Debra Renteria, General Manager
Elk River Guest Ranch
Elk River Guest Ranch
"The FTA is a great fit for us because, while we have many singles and couples joining us, the majority of our guests during our peak season is families. We're proud to be a part of an organization that promotes education and family travel experiences."
– Becky "Bex" Damman, Owner/Operator
Latigo Ranch
Latigo Ranch
"The FTA sounded like a good fit for us. When we bought the ranch nearly 30 years ago, we had three children and our partner later had three, so we determined then to make Latigo a family-friendly ranch. That has been our focus for all these years and will continue to be."
– Kathie Yost, Owner
Lost Creek Ranch & Spa
Lost Creek Ranch & Spa
"We joined the FTA to promote and increase travel awareness to guest ranches. Our guest ranch combines outdoor adventures for the entire family with the comforts of a world-class resort in a spectacular location."
– Jack and Julie Frappart, Managers
Marble Mountain Guest Ranch
Marble Mountain Guest Ranch
"Our target audience is traveling families with a mixed interest profile. Our unique offerings combining horseback trail riding, white water rafting, kayaking, fly fishing and shooting sports enable families with diverse interests to bond in a variety of shared activities. We joined the FTA because of the exact match of our target audience profiles."
– Jack and Julie Frappart, Managers
R Lazy S Ranch
R Lazy S Ranch
"There is nothing more family oriented than a family trip to a dude ranch. The FTA is the perfect venue for us to get the word out there that a trip to a dude ranch will be one of your most memorable vacations together. That’s what all the families returning to the R Lazy S are saying every year."
– Kelly and Nancy Stirn
Vee Bar Guest Ranch
Vee Bar Guest Ranch
"We wanted to join the FTA because of our similar missions. The Vee Bar Guest Ranch is a valuable learning experience for both the kids and adults in families. Families get to experience something new that brings them closer together. This is a wholesome vacation and the FTA helps bring these types of travel destinations and families together."
– Kari Kilmer, Manager

Family Travel Association Member News

Best Ways to Make Family Travel Meaningful

Best Ways to Make Family Travel Meaningful
Having fun is not the same as experiencing something meaningful. Jim Pickell of HomeExchange reveals 10 fun but life-changing activities that make family vacations meaningful and uplifting. He also just published How the Travel Industry Needs to Change the Way it Treats Families.

SeaWorld’s Historic Orca Breeding Program Announcements

SeaWorld’s Historic Orca Breeding Program Announcements
SeaWorld is ending its orca breeding program and creating new and natural orca encounters that help guests connect with these magnificent animals. Plus, SeaWorld is continuing efforts to protect oceans and marine animals in keeping with its mission to inspire families to take action and help protect wild animals and wild places.

Fathom Preps for First Cruises Between Miami and Cuba in 50+ Years

Fathom's Cuba: Full Speed Ahead
Fathom has just received final approval to cruise to Cuba from the U.S. beginning on May 1, 2016. Fathom is about social impact and guiding travelers to make a difference in the Dominican Republic and immerse themselves in the culture of Cuba. As such, Fathom seeks to engage multiple generations of travelers.

FTA Spotlight: Traveling for Families with Special Needs

This week, several people shared important information in response to our call for contributions to the current FTA Spotlight topic: Traveling for Families with Special Needs. Three of them follow here. With World Autism Awareness Day on Saturday, April 2, and all of April set aside as Autism Awareness Month (in the U.S.), we honor the unique travel challenges faced by families that embrace travel with their special-needs children... and reap the rewards.

When Travel Is Different, Understanding Gets You There

MJ
It’s complicated. MJ is 22 and until recently had been in residential treatment for a laundry list of developmental and mental health issues. This young man is one of thousands with behavioral challenges. And now he and his family are figuring out how to establish a traveling relationship. Because why shouldn’t MJ be allowed to travel?

Hawks Cay Champions Autism-Friendly Hospitality

Hawks Cay Champions Autism-Friendly Hospitality
As an autism-friendly family-friendly resort, Hawks Cay has created “Social Stories” to explain a stay at the resort through the eyes of someone with autism. In celebration of World Autism Awareness Day, they’ll use blue lighting at the front entrance and have employees wear blue, among other things.

Visiting Disney Parks with Special Needs Children

Visiting Disney Parks with Special Needs Children
Family vacations take a bit more planning and consideration for anyone with special-needs children. Visiting Disneyland may be harder too, but many kids have breakthroughs there. Here are some tips from Trekaroo to prepare for your first Disney trip with your special-needs child.

Learning from 20 Years of Designing Family Safaris

Learning from 20 Years of Designing Family Safaris
Safaris are on most travelers’ bucket lists. Family safaris too! The key to making them happen is to find a safari operator who knows how to cater to family needs. Here, John Spence of Aardvark Safaris reveals to Outdoor Families Magazine some of what he’s learned during his career.

Someone You Should Know: Global Family Travels’ Founder

Global Family Travels
ParentMap talks with Jennifer Spatz, founder of Global Family Travels, a tour company with a mission to “learn, serve and immerse,” about family service and adventure trips, changing lives by creating family travel opportunities that build character… and more.

Mall of America Anticipates Arrival of TBEX Travel Media Event

TBEX North America
TBEX North America is now only two months away. Hosted from May 29-31 by Mall of America, it is expected to be the greatest travel media event in Minnesota history, a three-day gathering of 800-1000 travel industry professionals, including family travel experts from the FTA and elsewhere. Register to attend or sponsor.

Family Travel Industry News

The Benefits of Traveling with Kids

The Benefits of Traveling with Kids
Sedentary home life stinks, while travel liberates. These are clichés. But, as is often the case with clichés, there’s more than an ounce of truth to them. If you see the world as a rich learning environment, here are nine key benefits to brood on when pondering the benefits of traveling with kids.

Why Fathers Should Bring Toddlers on a Family Mini Adventure

Why Fathers Should Bring Toddlers on a Family Mini Adventure
This writer has always had a desire to impart his experience and knowledge to his toddler daughter, and the best way he has found isn’t by telling her, but by showing her the world himself. So one day, when mum was busy with work, he had a great excuse to take his daughter on a family mini adventure.

Gogobot Unveils Its 2016 Family Travelers’ Rising Stars Destinations

Gogobot Unveils Its 2016 Family Travelers’ Rising Stars Destinations
Taking many factors into account, including data from more than 60,000 destinations, Gogobot has announced its 2016 Family Travelers' Rising Stars Destinations and 2016 Family Travelers' Declining Destinations Worth a Second Look.

Family Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2016

Family Travel Bloggers to Follow in 2016
There's a lot to consider when traveling with children. These bloggers prove what’s possible: traveling with kids is really fun! Here is a collection of family travel bloggers, volume 1 and volume 2, with passports are of stamps and a readiness to share their travel secrets with families in search of inspiration.
Family Getaways

Other Industry Stories Through TravelAge West

As part of a collaboration with TravelAge West, we are sharing selected items of interest from their family travel news desk.

Disney Cruise Line Announces 2 New Ships
Disney Cruise Line’s two forthcoming ocean-going vessels will debut in 2021 and 2023.

3 New Reasons to Visit Kid-Friendly Huntington Beach
Surf City, USA unveils new family-friendly attractions, accommodations and activities for 2016.

Universal Studios Hollywood vs. Universal Orlando Guide
Clients won’t need a Hogwarts sorting hat to figure out which theme park is the right pick for their family with this handy comparison guide.
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