Family Travel Association Newsletter

FTA Adds Powerful New Presence to Its Board of Advisors

Week of August 24, 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

Seven FTA Spotlight Topics Ask Tough Questions

Two months ago, we launched the FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel, a 15-month editorial initiative to develop a rounded understanding of the challenges we all face today with family travel and the efforts we can make as an industry to move forward with it. The first stage of the initiative is a 12 weeks of spotlighting 12 core family travel topics to the public. Each week, we are therefore publishing an introductory essay, which will open a topic for public discussion.

Seven essays now live are:

FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family Travel

FTA Spotlight Topic 8: Family Travel and Nature’s Nurture

Most people over 40 were comfortable playing outside as children. By contrast, the youth of today devote an average of 53 hours a week to entertainment media. Adults' demanding careers, concerns about "stranger danger," tangled traffic and easy access to technology combine to keep kids inside. So it's no surprise that the natural world feels a little “unnatural.” All the more reason to make a nature-based family holiday a top priority.

Read the full essay here and please share your thoughts.

FTA Spotlight: Traveling for Families with Special Needs

Dan Austin, Founder and President of Austin Adventures, Joins FTA Board

Dan Austin
The FTA has welcomed a new powerful presence to its Board of Advisors. Dan Austin is the Founder & President of Austin Adventures. He manages all aspects of the day to day of this small international tour company. After 20 years as founder and president of a large international commercial construction company, Dan was looking for new adventures when he acquired Backcountry Tours in 1994. Backcountry evolved over the years and through several key acquisitions to become what Austin Adventures is today. Over the last 20 years, Dan has become a respected expert on adventure travel and, as a result, holds key positions on numerous boards.

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?

Sunny Arizona: Chandler and Tempe
Sunny Arizona: Chandler & Tempe
"We want more families to experience Sunny Arizona, the cities of Tempe and Chandler, and we joined the Family Travel Association to help us achieve this goal. By aligning ourselves with the thought leaders of family travel, we can stay informed about national trends in this important niche and promote our cities more effectively to parents who share their love of travel with their children."
– Toni Smith, Director of Communications, Tempe Tourism Office
MSC Cruises
MSC Cruises
"MSC Cruises is thrilled to join the Family Travel Association as we share similar values and strongly believe that travel can have an extremely positive impact on kids. Kids traveling with MSC are exposed to multiple cultures and backgrounds as they play with other kids from around the world, and we've designed our children programs, such as language and cooking classes, to combine fun with a variety of cultural and educational experiences that the whole family can enjoy."
– Alyssa Goldfarb, Director, Public Relations, MSC Cruises

Family Travel Association Member News

Five Truths Spotted on a Family Safari with Abercrombie & Kent

FTA Board Member Laura Davidson traveled with her family to Tanzania on an Abercrombie & Kent safari. Her husband reported back about the five things he learned. To him, the takeaways weren't so much about what they saw as what they learned along the way, including the amazement of seeing things through young eyes.

Abercrombie & Kent: Five Truths Spotted on a Family Safari

New Dallas CityPASS Saves 41% Off Attraction Admissions in the "Big D"

Dallas, Texas, has joined Southern California, New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and more than half a dozen other powerhouse tourism destinations as an official CityPASS® city. Each Dallas CityPASS ticket booklet saves travelers 41 percent off combined admission to Dallas' top attractions. Families heading to Dallas can purchase CityPASS ticket booklets in advance through or on-site at any of the attractions listed above. Trade operators and travel agents interested in selling CityPASS ticket booklets should contact

Dallas CityPASS

SeaWorld Orlando Prepares to Delight Families This Fall with Family-Friendly Events

Upcoming calendar listings at SeaWorld® Orlando include special festivities and entertainment designed to appeal to the whole family. From spooky sea creatures in a sea-themed Halloween Spooktacular® to wintery wonderlands as part of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration®, all events are included with park admission. Families can also save up to $400 with a SeaWorld Getaway and choose from a variety of hotel package options, including a "Kids Free at SeaWorld" offer.

SeaWorld Orlando

Family Travel Industry News

New Virtuoso Program Will Focus on Family Travel

In an effort to help travel agents better connect with their family clients, Virtuoso is developing a program it calls Journey to Global Citizenship, designed to give agents the tools to establish long-term travel strategies for families. Many agents who are successful in the family market have already integrated this type of strategy into their business. But now Virtuoso is working on expanding the concept into a brand and building tools around it so that a larger number of its members can tap into the program for their own multigenerational clients.

Virtuoso's Journey to Global Citizenship

Austin Adventures Sees Increasing Demand for Over-the-Top, High-End Custom Trips Exclusive to Multi-Generation Families

The latest direction in luxury travel that Dan Austin, Founder and President of Austin Adventures, sees is the "ultra-high-end," over-the-top custom trip for multigenerational family groups. What was once a rare request is now asked quite frequently: arrange a week of adventure wrapped in luxurious amenities where price is no object. According to Austin, demand for this level of spending on vacations is up 40 percent from just three years ago.

Express: 10 of the Best Activity Family Sports Holidays

Tauck Doubles River Cruise Capacity for Families

Tauck is aggressively expanding its river cruise offerings specifically for families. With river cruising coming on as the fastest growing part of the tour industry over the past decade and a half, and family travel growing dramatically during the same period, the combination of these two markets is irresistible. Tauck plans to double its family river cruise capacity for 2017, from 10 departures in 2016.

Backroads Boosts Selection of River Cruise and Family Tours for 2016

Backroads, a tour operator specializing in active travel, is seeing the most growth in its Active River Cruises, Solo trips and Family Breakaway tours. The company is therefore expanding its selection of river cruises in Europe, as well as new river cruising options on the Mekong River through Cambodia and Vietnam. For 2016 the company is offering 89 trips in all.

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.

The Benefits of Family Travel
Family travel can help kids grow up to become well-rounded adults.

Discovery at Sea Invites Families to Learn Together
Interactive family program Discovery at Sea offers classes on stargazing, the ocean’s predators and more.

A Family-Friendly Wine Cruise With Food & Wine Trails
Parents sip vino while kids enjoy watersports on Food & Wine Trails’ first-ever family-friendly wine cruise.
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