Family Travel Association Newsletter

New Partnerships, Members and Media Growth

Week of October 19, 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

FTA Offers New Media Membership Package

FTA Media Membership

We are now offering a special FTA Media Membership package to journalists, bloggers, experts and media professionals who specialize in family travel. For this new category of membership, we will be developing a professional networking resource dedicated to facilitating productive information exchange between all of our members, including brands, destinations, travel agents and major media players. By providing access, resources and professional development to the media, we aim to bridge the gap between the media and brands who cater to families, while increasing the impact/reach of the work our media members are producing.

Click here for more details and a complete overview of benefits.

FTA Partners with Two Travel Show Companies

Leveraging our collective power to bring value and opportunities to members, we have recently partnered with two travel show companies that will offer discounted rates for FTA members and promotional opportunities at nine U.S. travel shows. The agreements with J2L Events (producers of the Boston Globe Travel Show and Philadelphia Inquirer Travel & Culinary Expo) and Unicomm, LLC (producers of the Travel & Adventure Shows in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Washington) will provide FTA members with discounted exhibit rates and offer the FTA and its partners additional exposure to attending trade and consumers. For more information about this, contact FTA Executive Director Chris Chesak.

Travel & Adventure Show
"We're very excited to partner with these key travel shows to make them more accessible to our members. We hope to grow FTA-member participation at shows like these until we have entire pavilions devoted to family travel. We see these partnerships as just the beginning of an entire suite of opportunities that we'll be able to offer FTA members."
– Rainer Jenss, FTA President and Founder

Why Family Travel Needed an Association

TravelAge West: Why Family Travel Needed an Association
Apropos of events, remember our FTA Summit, held late last month at the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch in Emigrant, Montana? TravelAge West has just published this feature about Why Family Travel Needed an Association. It showcases how our first-ever FTA Summit revealed a series of common concerns and opportunities for family travel.

Beating the Family Travel Association Drum

The past few weeks have been busy times for the FTA crew. In addition to organizing and hosting the FTA Summit (more news about that very, very soon!), the team has been present at many major tourism industry gatherings, spreading the family travel gospel. Rainer Jenss was at both the Skift Global Forum in NYC and the TMS Family Travel Conference in Kansas City, while Chez Chesak was in Puerto Varas, Chile, for the Adventure Travel World Summit, and Ethan Gelber was in San Jose, Costa Rica, for the Planet People Peace Conference and Bangkok, Thailand, for TBEX 2015 Asia.

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?

"We are very proud to be part of the Family Travel Association and the mission to bring more awareness to the wonderful and rewarding benefits of family travel. Uniworld recognized several years ago that multigenerational family travel via river cruising would be a great way for grandparents and parents to share the gift of enlightening travel with the special young people in their lives. And due to the increasing popularity of these family cruises, we will triple our offerings in 2016."
– Maria Grimardi, Vice President, Marketing, Uniworld
NXGEN Payment Services
NXGEN Payment Services
"We choose to strategically work with the Family Travel Association for their dedication to bringing the best possible value added member benefits they can offer. Not only did that attract us to FTA, but their experience, expertise and dedication in the travel industry is second to none. Combine that with advocating for family travel and believing in 'outside the classroom' experiences for children and it's something NXGEN wants to be affiliated with."
– Jenny Rifkin, Partner Development Manager, NXGEN Payment Services
ACE Adventure Resort
ACE Adventure Resort
"ACE is all about providing adventures and memories for families, which is why we thought the FTA would be a perfect fit for us. There are other travel associations out there, but this one fills a void by also focusing on families and serving that niche."
– Heidi Prior, Marketing Director, ACE Adventure Resort
Travel & Adventure Show
Travel & Adventure Show
"We are pleased to welcome the Family Travel Association as the newest Travel Industry Partner of the Travel & Adventure Show Series. Both Unicomm and FTA share a common goal to help inspire families to take advantage of everything that travel has to offer. From creating lasting memories and bonding with loved ones, to teaching our children how to be tolerant/respectful of other cultures, traveling is an invaluable teaching moment that creates long lasting impressions on the future generations."
– John Golicz, CEO, Unicomm (organizers of the nationwide Travel & Adventure Show Series)

Family Travel Association Member News

Sunny Arizona Family (Travel) Guide

2016 Sunny Arizona Launches New Family Travel Guide

The cities of Chandler and Tempe, Arizona, have produced a new Sunny Arizona Family (Travel) Guide. This free pocket guide to family fun in the metro Phoenix area includes dozens of attractions, restaurants and popular outings for travelers with children in tow. Laid out in eight themed sections, the pocket guide highlights the must-see activities for toddlers to teens. The categories include Cool Shops, Desserts & Treats, Fun Parks, Kid-Friendly Cuisine, Water Parks & Pools and Family Attractions to name a few. Also included are fun facts about the Sonoran Desert.

Rudy Maxa Talks to Randy Garfield and Ida Keiper About Family Travel

Last week, "Rudy Maxa's World," a radio show broadcast each weekend on 220+ news/talk stations in the US, aired interviews Mr. Maxa conducted while at the FTA Summit. The segment includes a lengthy chat with FTA Board Member Randy Garfield (pictured below) about "What happened to the American vacation?" (slide the time button forward to 12:45) and with special-needs travel advisor Ida Keiper, author of our FTA Spotlight essay about family travel for families with special needs (slide the time button forward to 24:15).

Randy Garfield
Amie O'Shaughnessy

Travel Agent Talk: Amie O'Shaughnessy

FTA Board Member Amie O'Shaughnessy has long loved to travel, but it wasn't until her son was born that she turned her wanderlust into a business plan. She launched family travel agency Ciao Bambino in late 2003. In 2007, Ciao Bambino added a blog to its website, which has since gone on to win noted journalism awards and help increase business. Here's an excellent and insightful interview with her, talking website strategy and kid-friendly Italy itineraries.

Lots of New Family-Friendly Trips for 2016

As we near the end of 2015, most major tour operators have set their calendars for 2016. This includes those supporting multigenerational groups, including many of our members, who have announced an expanded roster of family-friendly trips to appeal to a growing audience. Here are a few:

  • Abercromie & Kent has added new destinations to its luxury selection of Family Journeys: Italy, Central Europe and Scotland/Ireland. They are all on sale with a $400 per-child savings.
  • Thomson Family Adventures is now offering family-friendly European river cruises in partnership with Uniworld, the only river cruise operator that is open to having families with children on board their ships.
  • Journeys International's new Nepal Family Adventure trip is intended to support the rebuilding efforts in Nepal.
Uniworld ships on the Seine

Austin Adventures Celebrates 2016 National Parks Centennial with Free Travel for 4th Graders

Austin Adventures: Find Your Park
To mark the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, Austin Adventures will offer a program of 4th Graders Travel FREE in 2016. The program supports the "Every Kid in a Park" initiative created by the National Park Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and the White House whereby fourth-grade students across the country have free access to National Parks throughout the 2015-2016 school year. As advocates of this program, Austin Adventures is waiving trip fees for all fourth graders traveling on any of their National Park adventures in 2016, which represents a significant savings for a family.

New York State Opens New High-Tech Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester

A new $4 million high-tech Toy Hall of Fame opened at the Strong National Museum of Play this September in Rochester, NY. The new exhibit features interactive displays that interact with guests of all ages in humorous ways. Visitors can step up to a 20-foot bubble tower to create virtual bubbles that can be moved and popped by motion-capture technology; orchestrate a music and light show with a Crayon Piano; use cranks, pulleys and cords to interact with a 20-foot-tall kinetic toy sculpture made of building blocks; or pose in front of an oversized Etch-a-Sketch for a virtual portrait that can be shared with friends and family.

Toy Hall of Fame

Capital-Saratoga Region Launches New Website with Family-Friendly Resources

As part of its rebranding campaign for 2015, the Capital-Saratoga Region of New York State recently launched a new and improved website. The site now allows travelers to plan their vacation with ease by searching an attraction based on location, activity and keywords, including "family travel." Itineraries and tours, including several with family-focused themes, are also available on the site for visitors who prefer pre-planned trip ideas and for tour operators to familiarize themselves with opportunities for their clients.

Capital-Saratoga Region website

Rothschild Safaris Continues Its Webinar Series for Travel Agents

Family travel is an important part of Rothschild Safaris, and when they sharing stories of travel adventures from around the world, they often turn to travel with children. The subject is certain to arise in their next monthly webinar geared for the travel agent network. On October 29th at 2pm EST, the topic will be "What does real luxury in Africa look like today? (It's not what you think!)." While safari is still luxurious at heart, Rothschild Safaris continues to push the envelope when it comes to service, exclusivity and ultimate luxury. Join them to discover what clients will be asking for next year!

Family Travel Industry News

New York Times: How to Backpack Through Europe, with Kids

How to Backpack Through Europe, with Kids

This New York Times article explores how two parents pulled their two boys out of school six weeks early to backpack across Europe: one month and 2,000 miles, from London to Budapest. Just backpacks, no massive roller bags. Just the stripped-down basics, not the mounds of gear you see families humping through airports.

8 Portraits of Travel Before and After Having Kids

"Most adults have a clichéd view of children as some kind of hindrance to traveling," begins David Miller in this evocative photo essay in Matador about "how the moments we experience as travelers — both before and after having kids — all have the possibility to add, to build something so that one day — old and slow — we may finally get back to that level of travel we had as kids, where there was no separation between the terrain and our imagination."

Matador: 8 Portraits of Travel Before and After Having Kids

Family Time Works

"As the season of autumn moves firmly into place on the calendar, let’s gather together as an outdoor community and support the concepts of nature, global citizenry, and connecting the two as a vital link for the sake of our children," extols Erin Kirkland, editor of Outdoor Families Magazine. We couldn't agree more!

Outdoor Families Magazine: Family Time Works

Get the Family Out in the World

With changing weather in the northern hemisphere, NY Trav Fest's inaugural newsletter recently focused on family travel to send out a little inspiration for travel hungry families. They reached out to the experts in the field of family travel and asked for their best advice. Everyone delivered, including, we're pleased to say, the FTA. The newsletter's resources are loaded with useful tips, inspiration and firsthand accounts of traveling with youngsters and grandparents.

NY Trav Fest newsletter
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.

Why Agents Should Book National Parks for Families
As the National Park Service preps for its 100th birthday, travel agents and tour operators are helping families see America’s national parks.

Making National Park Vacations Easy
Travel agents are great partners when it comes to planning national park family vacations.

Big Five Tours & Expeditions Introduces New Multigen-Friendly Tour
Families can visit Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua during this eight-day trip.
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