Family Travel Association Newsletter

Who Knew That Family Travel Had So Much Going for It? We Did!

Week of May 18, 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.

Adventurer and Special-Needs Advocate Karin Sheets Appeals for Understanding About Special Needs in Travel

Following our inaugural pieces by Keith Bellows, Emeritus Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Travel; by Kyle McCarthy, Editor of Family Travel Forum; and by Matt Villano, a senior editor of the Expedia Viewfinder travel blog; and by Heather Greenwood Davis, an award-winning journalist and feature writer, this week the spotlight turns to Karin Sheets, an adventurer and special-needs advocate who can be found at Special Needs Travel Mom. She reacts to the recent debate about the removal from a flight of a family that included a child on the autism spectrum.

Karin Sheets and her special-needs child

The FTA Helps Add Family/Multigenerational Travel Track to the 2015 Travel Industry Exchange Conference

The FTA has been added as in Industry Supporter for the 2015 Travel Industry Exchange – the next revolution in travel education and the first networking event focused on specialization. The FTA-led Multigenerational/Family Travel sessions will expand on how this fastest-growing market sector requires strong knowledge of the right properties, activities and destinations that can attract diverse family travelers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: All FTA members are eligible for a 10% discount to exhibit in the 2015 Travel Industry Exchange. Any members also interested in speaking opportunities should contact Rainer Jenss.

FTA Tips Appear in HomeAway Article About Getting Kids Involved in Family Vacation Decision

According to a new "Kidfluencer Survey" by HomeAway, 87 percent of parents in the U.S. and Europe give kids a say in vacation destination planning. One in three U.S. Millennial parents even empowers their kids to have full control over the final vacation destination decision. Not sure on how to best involve your kids? Here are six tips we shared with HomeAway in a recent travel trends article about family vacation decisions.

A family on vacation

Family Travel Association Underscores Need to Support Nepal Appeals

The devastation of the earthquakes in Nepal has, predictably, slipped from the front pages and lead stories in major media. The needs on the ground, however, remain significant. As tourism is an especially important part of Nepal's developing economy – and will be even more so after primary relief efforts are complete – we encourage all industry members to donate to the Tourism Cares Nepal Recovery Fund, which unites and leverages the travel industry's special care and contributions. Your tax-deductible donation will be 100% allocated to program expenses, with Tourism Cares waiving all indirect administrative costs.

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?

Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line
"Carnival Cruise Line is proud to join the Family Travel Association. As a brand that carries more than 700,000 children each year, we understand it's important for families to have easily accessible, objective information to inform their travel planning decisions and FTA is a great resource."
– Stephanie Evans Greene, Vice President, Brand Communications & Planning, Carnival Cruise Line
"Trekaroo is excited to be part of the Family Travel Association because we believe our mission has always been to encourage families to make travel with their children a priority. We are excited to partner with like-minded industry leaders to advocate for and promote the interests of traveling families. We look forward to seeing this alliance make strides towards raising awareness around the long-lasting educational and social benefits of travel for children of all ages."
– LiLing Pang, CEO & Editor, Trekaroo
All Over the Map
All Over the Map
"We are proud to add our voice to the Family Travel Association to help spread the word about the critical role of travel in family well-being and children's education. We love the camaraderie and support of the organization, and we like staying informed about the best family vacation options for our clients."
– Paige Conner Totaro and Véronique Autphenne, Founders, All Over the Map
Tracks & Trails
Tracks & Trails
"Our mission has always been to help moms and dads introduce their children to the magic of the great outdoors. Other travel associations never felt quite right. I am hoping that with FTA we can focus on families and work together to grow this important segment of our industry."
– Dan Wulfman, Founder, Tracks & Trails

Family Travel Assocaition Member News

Great Wolf Lodge Redefines Its Culinary Experience

Since 2014, Great Wolf Lodge has been diligently overhauling its signature restaurants to create new menus of improved food served to families, especially children. By keeping a pulse on traveler feedback and food blogs written by parents concerned about the food served to children, Great Wolf saw a growing need for nutritious yet convenient food.

Great Wolf’s Corporate F&B Director, Chris Hammond, plating a hamburger with fries
As a result, changes have been made across the brand's 12 properties, including the use of healthier foods, such as potato-only French fries, all natural beef-only burgers and antibiotic/steroid-free chicken, grass-fed beef for steaks, Hebrew National three-ingredients (beef, water and salt) hot dogs, vegetable as sides (instead of fries), milk instead of soft drinks, and even allergy-free ingredients like GMO-free rice bran oil and rice flour. Even the kids mac 'n' cheese uses white cheddar to avoid serving anything with Yellow #5 in it, and the juices, yogurt and ketchup are organic.

Cayuga Encourage Moms & Dads to Apply for the Perfect Green Family Vacation

As we reported in an earlier newsletter, the Cayuga Collection of hotels and lodges is on a quest for the greatest and "greenest" family vacation in the world. They're looking for a family that can create the perfect symbiosis of sustainability and luxury. The application deadline has now been extended to this coming Sunday to May 24th, so act fast! The winning family will walk away with seven days of complimentary accommodation, dining and activities at Cayuga Collection Hotels & Lodges, all focused on sustainability and education.

Family Travel Industry News

Best Family Vacations in the USA

In order to provide recommendations for a family vacation in the USA, U.S. News has gathered a list of destinations praised by experts for offering kid-friendly entertainment and reasonable rates. Readers were then asked to help pick the top places in the country to visit as a family. The resultant list includes a variety of family vacation ideas based on votes from thousands of travelers.

Making Europe a Family Affair

Destinations and suppliers are increasingly reaching out to the very lucrative family market. Fittingly, a series of products in Europe has recently hit the market designed to appeal to small nuclear family units. These include hotels in Switzerland, London and Northern Ireland; attractions in the United Kingdom; and a special "Helsinki for Kids" map.

Not Sure if Villa Vacations Are in Budget? Think Again.

Are you shocked? A first look into pricing will reveal that a regular working Jane can afford a family vacation in a villa property. For groups, some of these properties actually end up costing less than an upscale hotel, while providing all the resort amenities and then some. For multiple travelers like families, splitting the cost of a villa is really pretty reasonable.

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.

Disney Takes on River Cruising With AmaWaterways
Arranged by Adventures by Disney and onboard AmaWaterways' AmaViola, entertainment and shore excursions will include kid-friendly highlights.

Family Trekking on the Inca Trail
One family’s experience trekking together on the Inca Trail.

Amadeus Reveals 6 Types of Future Travelers
New report looks ahead at the future of the travel industry. What will today's young family travelers end up being in tomorrow's world?
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