Family Travel Association Newsletter

Capturing Leading Family Travel Voices

Week of March 9, 2015

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.

Family Travel Association News

The FTA has assembled a remarkable family-travel brain trust to guide our development – advisors on our board and other councillors, members and partners with many years of travel thought-leadership. Over the coming weeks and months, we will share a bounty of wisdom from their decades of advocacy for and hands-on practice in family travel.

FTA Board Member and National Geographic Travel Emeritus Editor-in-Chief Keith Bellows Shares His Top Tips About Family Travel

We are pleased to shine our first feature spotlight on Keith Bellows, a member of our Board of Advisors and Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Travel. Today he offers word of 10 Ways to Improve Your Family Vacation, insights gained from long experience on the road.

A family reviews a map of the world

Family Travel Association Dominates the Travel Channel's Best Family Adventures of 2015

In early March, the Travel Channel published its Best Family Adventures 2015. Four of the five advisors who guided and commented on the where-to-gos and what-to-dos are affiliated with FTA, including Rainer Jenss, our founder and president; Heather Greenwood Davis and Nancy Schretter, both on our Board of Advisors; and Keryn Means, one of a group of councillors we'll be sharing more news about in future editions.

Screenshot of Travel Channel's Best Family Adventures 2015

Wendy Perrin to Speak at FTA Summit in September

Wendy Perrin
In preparation for our first annual Family Travel Association Summit at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana, we are finalizing a list of a dozen speakers who will deliver TED Talk-like presentations on the most important issues in family travel. We are glad to announce that Wendy Perrin is joining Keith Bellows (see above) and consumer-advocate Christopher Elliott in our lineup. Wendy is an encyclopedia of travel solutions, amassed during her two decades at Condé Nast Traveler and in her current role at TripAdvisor. She plans to discuss the real and perceived challenges parents face when planning their family's travels and what the industry is and should be doing to address those issues.

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?

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
"SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is excited to join the Family Travel Association. We share similar ideas on inspiring and educating families through personal and interactive experiences. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is a leading theme park and entertainment company that blends imagination with nature and enables our guests to celebrate, connect with, and care for the natural world we share."
– Thomas Valley, Director, National Sales
"Bike touring is the perfect travel option for families looking to teach, learn, explore, and be active together and we want parents to know it's totally doable. We're excited to join the FTA to help educate and inspire families to take to two wheels (or maybe four, if the kids require a trailer!) to experience our wide world."
– Natalie Cook, Vice President, BikeToursDirect

Family Travel Association Member News

Diving Makes Kids the Ocean Advocates of the Future

One welcome side effect of teaching kids to dive is a passion they develop for the ocean and its wildlife. This was driven home by Audrey Sarin, a 13-year-old PADI Open Water diver who gained confidence through Kids Sea Camp. In a recent article she penned, she finished with the moving plea below.

Audrey Sarin and Kids Sea Camp Adventures
"Remember, the ocean is silent – it has no voice. It cannot speak for itself in debates about marine preserves or commercial fishing laws. I am eager for my voice to be a voice of the ocean, to be a protector and advocate for it. I am a certified diver with just under fifty dives, and after every single dive, I feel a renewed passion towards my goal – to be the voice. I encourage you to travel and to dive with your families, experience the underwater silent world, and become a voice too."

Journeys International Recognized as LGBT-Friendly Family Tour Operator

Priscilla Hoffnung (l) and her wife, Lynn Gavin (r), with a local craftswoman in Panama.  (Source:Journeys International)
Edge Media Network, the largest network of local LGBT news and entertainment publications, has shared how, through recognized LGBT-friendly tour operators like Journeys International, more and more LGBT families can skip the stress of politically charged trip planning, and instead just endure the same ordinary travel challenges faced by any family.
"We don't need to worry about how our LGBT travelers will be received because we already know that our guides are as welcoming to all of our travelers as we are."
– Sally Grimes-Chesak, Director of Marketing and Family Programs, Journeys International

It's Prime Time for Booking Family Bicycle Tours

The time is now for families to book the active vacations of their dreams. BikeToursDirect, a leader in bike tours worldwide, says spring is not only the time to start dreaming of summer family holidays, but also to start booking them.

"Bike tours are an accessible and often very affordable active vacation for families, particularly tours in Europe. Ideal cycling weather across the pond coincides luckily with U.S. school breaks, so it's a natural fit for parents who know exploration is its own education."
– Natalie Cook, Vice President, BikeToursDirect

Hudson Valley Tourism at Philadelphia Travel Show

Two FTA members will find themselves rubbing elbows when Hudson Valley Tourism (HVT) represents the region at the Philadelphia Travel and Adventure Show on March 21st and 22nd. Both HVT and Philadelphia are established family-travel hot spots, one easily reached from the other, including by air (use Stewart International Airport in Newburgh). They're far enough away for a vacation and close enough to get to via an easy three-hour drive.

Family Travel Industry News

Ranches Aren't Just about Horsemanship These Days

More and more families seek out ranches as healthy escapes from the stress of the daily routine. Whether unleashed into miles of remote wilderness or open prairie, or wrapped in the workings of the ranch itself, parents and their kids are finding that time with horses and nature helps them strike a wholesome, especially when combined with nutritious food and even yoga or other beneficial activities.

"The Dude Ranchers Association totally agrees. In keeping with the belief that wellness starts from within, many ranches offer a variety of rejuvenating activities and programs specifically designed to heal what ails you. With that in mind, it makes sense that a trip solely planned around healing would yield powerful restorative results. While the term ‘dude ranch’ usually brings to mind images of cowboys and cattle drives, dude ranches are surprisingly perfect destinations for reviving your mind, body and spirit."
– Colleen Hodson, Executive Director, Dude Ranch Association

Cruise the Transatlantic at a Bargain Fare This Spring

USA Today reports that from March to early May, when cruise lines reposition some ships from the Caribbean to Europe sailing regions, springtime transatlantic crossings, often from ports in Florida, bring great deals for consumers.

Why not check the opportunities through CruiseCompete, where anyone in the travel industry – especially travel agents – can find information helpful for booking family cruises, including baby-friendly cruising, children’s cruise programs and activities, and much more?

Dad's Do Diapers Too

Yeah, it always takes a frustrated celebrity to remind the world about something everyone already knows. In this case, new-dad Ashton Kutcher has voiced his frustration about men's bathrooms that don't come with diaper-changing stations. Always a problem for dads on the go with their youngest in tow.

Family Getaways

Other Industry Stories Through Travel Age West

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

Meeting the Needs of Millennial Travelers
Suppliers are adapting to what millennial travelers want and need, because there’s no sense denying it – millennials matter.

Top Spring Break Travel Destinations for 2015
American Express Travel has released list of favored domestic and international destinations for the upcoming spring break season (March 10 to April 20). The findings are based on popularity via customer bookings.

Adventure Travel Market Shows Strong Growth
Tour operators specializing in the adventure travel market should expect to see revenue increase approximately 23 percent this year, according to the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA).
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