Family Travel Association Newsletter

Disney Joins and the New York Times Travel Show Features the Family Travel Association

Week of January 22, 2016

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

Disney Destinations Is Our Newest Member

Disney Destinations is one of the world’s leading providers of family travel, entertainment and leisure experiences. In addition to five resort destinations in the U.S., Asia and Europe, Disney Destinations encompasses other businesses where families discover the world. Adventures by Disney offers guided group family travel hosted by Disney Adventure Guides. At sea, Disney Cruise Line ships call on exciting ports in the Caribbean, Alaska and Europe, while Hawaii is home to an immersive Disney Resort and Spa. Here families are immersed in the stories, culture and customs of the islands for a vacation like no other.
Disney Destinations

Taking the New York Times Travel Show by Storm

In addition to manning a booth at this year’s New York Times Travel Show, our founder and president, Rainer Jenss, headed a panel about Hidden Secrets for Traveling Families.
New York Times Travel Show
The other participants were Laura Begley Bloom, Executive Editor of Yahoo Travel; Elaine Alimonti, Group Publisher of Lonely Planet and Budget Travel; and Sally Black, Founder of

Read more about the Top 5 Trends in Family Travel at the NY Times Travel Show, and look out for the 2017 show, when we plan to host a whole family travel pavilion on the exhibition floor!

Kit Bernardi Joins Our Team as Director of Media Membership

Kit Bernardi
We are very pleased to welcome Kit Bernardi to the Family Travel Association team as Director of Media Membership. Kit Bernardi is an award-winning travel journalist, photographer and marketer who has explored more than 50 countries during 20 years writing for numerous freelance for outlets. Her work is showcased on her website. She is a member of Society of American Travel Writers and the North American Travel Journalists Association.

FTA Spotlight Turns Its Attention to a New Topic: Education

In the next step of our FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family campaign (download overview) we are turning to our next topic: How to Use Travel as a Learning Tool.

FTA Spotlight

Whether you choose to vacation abroad or closer to home, the inescapable reality is that we live in an increasingly global world. And yet too many schools – especially in the public school system – are failing our kids by believing that more learning occurs in a classroom than in the world beyond it. Any adult who gives a child the gift of travel, however, bestows the gift that keeps on giving. We owe our children their global tomorrows by raising well-traveled and world-ready students.

Do you have strong feelings about this? We want to hear from you!

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?

"After having known Rainer for almost 15 years — back then with National Geographic — it is a great honor that Grootbos is now part of the Family Travel Association. With our family-friendly Garden Lodge and all the activities we do for children, we fit perfectly into this portfolio. We are looking forward to a fruitful and strong partnership."
– Michael Lutzeyer, Owner, Grootbos
"Vacatia is very happy to join the Family Travel Association. Our mission is to make family vacations better, and to help family resorts thrive, by creating our new resort marketplace for vacationing families. We've come to the same conclusion as the FTA: family travelers are significantly underserved and there is a huge opportunity to help improve their experience. We look forward to working together with the leadership and members of the FTA to make a real difference for this important and rapidly growing market segment."
– Mike Janes, CMO, Vacatia

Family Travel Association Member News

Travel Can Change Your Child's Life: Here's How

Often parents are afraid to travel with young children. Many worry about whether kids will be able to handle the unknown foods, long plane journey or countless other variables accompanying world travel. Here are a few organized resources specifically for families or parents interested in planning travel that includes children or is specifically geared toward children, including the Family Travel Association and Austin Adventures.

Travel Can Change Your Child's Life: Here's How

Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Special-Needs Families

Abeon Travel, an agency focusing on special needs travel solutions, has showcased several adaptive winter sports programs for families traveling with an individual with a cognitive or physical disability. Also featured: Rothschild Safaris’ accessible South Africa custom trips.

Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Special-Needs Families

Home-sharing Sites Offer a World of Family Travel

The sharing economy, with key players Uber and Airbnb, continues to influence how families travel. Here are five ways to share and save, including, which makes it easy for families to travel almost anywhere, live like a local and stay for free in more than 150 countries.

Home-sharing Sites Offer a World of Family Travel

It’s Your Vacation, Why Share it?

HomeAway is challenging travelers to upgrade their vacation accommodations and leave behind gross and close encounters for a whole home. HomeAway’s humorous ad explores the sometimes harsh reality of staying at a hotel or trendy “sharing economy” accommodations in a new global integrated marketing campaign: “It’s Your Vacation, Why Share it?”. The campaign includes a contest to win $5,000 towards a HomeAway vacation rental.

It’s Your Vacation, Why Share it?

Planning a Safari to Kenya with Kids

So families you know want to go on a safari and aren’t quite sure where to start? This family just returned from a safari to Kenya with Intrepid Travel and has provided a everything traveling families need to know about planning a safari to Kenya with kids.

Planning a Safari to Kenya with Kids

The Perfect Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a very popular family travel destination. Easy to get to, safe and lots of fun. Almost a year ago, the Cayuga Collection of sustainable luxury hotels and lodges set out to find a family that would help them improve the family vacation experience in Costa Rica. They shared a lot of very valuable feedback. Here are some highlights, lessons learned and ideas for improvement.

The Perfect Family Vacation in Costa Rica

Costa Rican Animals Want To 'Save the Americans'

Tourism to Costa Rica was a major driver in the country’s economy last year. It grew at three times the rate of the country’s economy, making last year truly exceptional. Some of this success, especially with North Americans, has been attributed to several marketing initiatives, including several international fairs, new partnerships, activities in cities and Costa Rica’s popular Save the Americans campaign.

Costa Rican Animals Want To 'Save the Americans'

Family Travel Industry News

No Vacation Nation: 41% of Americans Didn’t Take a Day off in 2015

In a new survey conducted over the first few days of 2016, Skift asked Americans about how much vacation they took in the just-finished 2015, and the topline result is as predictable as it is shocking: nearly 41 percent of Americans said they didn’t take a single vacation day during 2015.

Skift: No Vacation Nation

"As an association whose goal it is to increase the demand for family travel and get families to travel more, we took special notice of this latest headline from Skift.

I don’t want to get into a numbers game, but the 2015 U.S. Family Travel Study we conducted with NYU paints a very different picture. According to our survey, only 4% of all respondents who had paid vacation days did not use any. In fact, 47% used them all. Of course, our study specifically focused on family travel and the majority of respondents was mothers – 27% of whom are not employed - so that could be a cause for the big discrepancy.

But what could this really mean? Do people with children take more days off than people who don’t? Do families make traveling more of a priority? Or do surveys just simply vary according to who conducts them?

Either way, the Family Travel Association is making sure that families include traveling as a priority. As such, we fully support Project: Time Off in the effort to heighten awareness, discussion, and movement about the need for more vacations and time off for Americans.

We hope to work with the USTA, our media partners, and other industry suppliers/organizations to ensure that this message resonates and that we start to take real action that will reverse this alarming trend."
– Rainer Jenss, Founder & President, Family Travel Association

Family Vacation Tips: Family Travel in 2016

After presenting and analyzing 2015 U.S. Family Travel Survey, this writer laments that families simply do not understand how travel agents work and the many benefits they offer clients (genuine insight, experience and knowledge; lower travel rates than found on any major travel search engines; affordable and realistic budgeting) and resolves in 2016 to do a much better job explaining the benefits and teaching parents how to be wise travelers in an effort to help more families get out and explore the world with their kids.

Family Vacation Tips: Family Travel in 2016
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.

Getting Close to Nature With Ritz Kids
The Ritz-Carlton Ritz Kids clubs, with educational programming tailored to the destination, are ideal for budding environmentalists.

Get the Latest Universal Orlando Updates
Kids can see bears and other animals up close at Yellowstone's Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center.

When the Kids Take Charge of Family Travel
A solid social media presence may be the key to success in the family travel market.
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