FTA is proud to announce our new business development manager, Eric Lutey; who brings many years of tour and travel industry experience to the role.
Lutey started his career a little over 20 years ago, working as a student tour operator in Michigan, Ohio and Florida. His experiences and relationships led him to roles in sales at Serendipity Media and Group Tour Media. In addition to his role with the Family Travel Association, Lutey will continue to work with the Tourism Academy as a community architect.
We recently sat down with Eric so the FTA family can get to know him as well.
What will you be doing in your new role?
As the new business development manager, I will be working with convention and visitors’ bureaus and suppliers of all varieties that are interested in connecting with travel planners and media that focus on family travel. As families look to renew their traveling spirit after the last couple years, I believe we have an amazing opportunity as an industry to engage families and help to inspire our next generation of travelers.
Why do you have a passion for student and family travel?
I love to explore and learn about new places and people. Student travel brings classroom lessons to life. It opens eyes and minds. It challenges what we think we know, and inspires students to see and hear things with a new perspective. It fosters independence and creative thinking. It pushes boundaries and solidifies friendships. Student travel, in my opinion, offers immeasurable opportunities.
From a family travel standpoint, I was fortunate to grow up with parents as educators. They made a point to load us kids in the “woody wagon” and hit the road during the summer months. Like student travel, those family trips have inspired me in ways I never could have imagined. Now with a family of our own, my wife and I get to experience these adventures through the eyes of our kids, learning and experiencing right along with them. That, in itself, is special. At the end of each adventure, we ask the kids, “What was your favorite part of the trip?” Their answers usually fuel the conversation for the next adventure. Lots of memories to come!
What kinds of trips do you really enjoy?
It’s interesting. I find inspiration in the hustle and bustle of the biggest cities, as well as the quiet serenity of a walk in the woods or along the shore. Each adventure is special. My family and I do a lot of camping now, especially in the last couple years. We definitely have our Michigan favorites, but we’re starting to get requests from our children. I believe New York City, Washington, DC, and Mount Rushmore are on the short list. We look for fun, education, culture, food and more.
Do you have a dream destination?
We’ve discussed Ireland quite a bit. For years, we’ve visited the Michigan Irish Music Festival in Muskegon (and the Dublin Irish Festival in Dublin, Ohio) as a family. We love trying foods, listening to music, hearing stories, watching the dances and meeting new people. We’re not sure when this type of trip will happen, but it’s definitely on the bucket list!
What do you want the family travel industry to know?
It’s go time! There is no better time than the present to reach out to your Association, the Board and myself. We’re here to help you and your community in every way we can. Let’s learn from and challenge each other to create amazing experiences for families near and far.
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