Written by Rainer Jenss, President & Founder, Family Travel Association
Think back to your very first memory. Got it? If you’re like most – 62%, in fact – that remembrance will be from a time spent on vacation. I happily fall into that majority. As a child, I had the good fortune of having traveled early and often. During my school years, my parents often took my sister and me on a cruise to the Caribbean, sometimes even missing a few days of school to do so. Sure, the ships were fun, but mainly, we fell in love with the tropical climate, white sandy beaches and unique culture found only in the islands.
Looking back, I guess it’s no surprise that my honeymoon included a romantic getaway in St. Lucia, the same destination (and resort) my wife and I would revisit twenty years later with our teenage boys to go scuba diving. It’s safe to say that the holidays I spent in the Caribbean were a major influence on my love for travel and why I ultimately helped launch the Family Travel Association, an organization bringing the industry together to inspire more families to travel. After all, travel’s power to transform children’s lives is something we can all certainly appreciate.
With family and multigenerational travel now one of the hottest and fastest-growing segments of the entire tourism industry, some might wonder why investing in the growth of this sector is even necessary. After all, at a time when a record number of families are traveling, shouldn’t the industry focus its attention on other emerging categories?
There are several reasons why I believe that today, right now, is precisely the time to double down on family travel, especially for destinations like the Caribbean.
For one, our research confirms that parents feel very strongly that once they find a destination they like, they’ll return to it. That can really make a significant difference in charting a path for future generations of travelers we need to cultivate. Furthermore, there is greater opportunity in promoting travel to multigenerational groups because their large party size makes them much more profitable.
Finally, if consumers have easier access to information, get more inspired by all the wonderful opportunities available to them, learn more about why travel with children is so beneficial and can be transformational – not just recreational – and the industry helps simplify the process of planning/booking family travel, then this segment of the industry will continue to grow and expand in the years to come.