The Team

The Team

The Family Travel Association was founded in 2014 by Rainer Jenss and a steering committee who recognized that too many parents do not take advantage of the amazing travel opportunities available to them and their children. Considering that family travel constitutes approximately one third of all leisure travel, and has seen steady growth in family and multigenerational travel, the time has come to create a single and collective voice on behalf of the travel industry and those companies that serve traveling families.

If you are involved in the travel industry and offer products and services specifically for families, you have a place in the association. Go to Become A Member to find out how the Family Travel Association can help you be more connected, profitable and informed, or call us at 1.845.689.9033.

Rainer Jenss

President & Founder, Family Travel Association

Having traveled to over 60 countries and counting, Rainer is an authority on the subject of family travel and how it can be used as a learning tool. During his family’s around-the-world journey, Rainer reported for National Geographic Traveler’s award-winning Intelligent Travel Blog, recognized as one of the Top 25 Family Travel Blogs by Babble.com in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, Rainer founded Smart Family Travel, Inc., an interactive media and marketing company dedicated to helping families enrich their children’s lives through travel. In 2012, he joined forces with Scholastic to direct a new family travel initiative and content development for the “Smart Family Travel” feature in Parent & Child magazine.

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Chris ‘Chez’ Chesak

Executive Director

Chris ‘Chez’ Chesak brings to the FTA 20 years experience in corporate partnerships, business development, and organizational leadership. Most recently, Chez spent nine years helping guide the Adventure Travel Trade Association to its current position as a galvanizing force for that niche of the travel industry. Previously he drove the development and marketing programs for various active/outdoor organizations, such American Hiking Society (where he also managed the National Trails Day program) and the venerable, 100+ year-old The American Alpine Club.

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Ethan Gelber

Director of Editorial

Ethan Gelber is a professional freelance writer and editor, communications strategist, content marketer and translator of more than 20 years and scores of projects focused on travel, culture and education. He specializes in responsible and sustainable travel practices, keeping things local, and quality and relevance in publishing and destination marketing.

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Peter Bopp

Director of Strategy

Peter Bopp serves on the Board of Advisors of the Family Travel Association, and works on our strategy, marketing, consumer research and insights. He has managed our family travel research partnership with NYU’s Tisch School of Tourism and Hospitality, and is building the FTA Consumer Panel for ongoing research and feedback benefitting the industry and our member organizations.

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Laura Davidson

Public Relations

Laura Davidson is the creative force behind LDPR, a leading New York-based public relations agency that specializes in travel and lifestyle clients. For more than 20 years it has been in the vanguard of its industry, constantly stretching the traditional boundaries of PR, embracing new digital solutions and adding services for its roster of top international clients. Today LDPR’s client list includes destinations like Scotland; Sydney, Australia; and Portland, Oregon; global hospitality brands like Aman Resorts and Abercrombie & Kent; luxury resorts such as Park Hyatt St. Kitts, Las Alcobas Napa Valley, the Ocean House in Watch Hill, RI, and Gleneagles in Scotland; and the ultimate family travel destination, Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.

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Amie O’Shaughnessy

Travel Agent Initiative Chair

Amie O’Shaughnessy runs Ciao Bambino, an award-winning family travel planning website and vacation planning service offering essential tips and advice on how, what, and where to travel with kids of all ages. Amie is a leading voice in family travel today and covers everything from family adventure travel to luxury hotels. In addition to managing Ciao Bambino, Amie is on the Board of the Family Travel Association and a member of SATW, the Society of American Travel Writers.

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Kit Bernardi

Media Center Director

Kit Bernardi is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer and marketer. Kit has explored more than 55 countries on six continents during 20 years writing freelance articles for print and online outlets including USA TODAY GoEscape Magazine, Delta Sky Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, CruiseCritic.com, Travel Illinois Magazine, FamilyTravelForum.com, TakingtheKids.com and many more publications. Kit’s work is showcased on her website www.KitTravels.com. She has been a contributing editor for Meredith Corporation’s Midwest Living Magazine, a Lowell Thomas Award winning publication. Kit edited-authored the first Not for Tourists Guide to Chicago and wrote the sassy, resourceful city guide’s chapter called Kids’ Chicago.

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O.A.R.S. Family Adventure Vacations

O.A.R.S. sets the standard in first-class rafting, sea kayaking and multi-sport adventures for families in the Western U.S. and internationally.

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