Editor's Notes: September 2009

It’s family travel time again at Recommend, a market segment that’s remained remarkably strong and has shown surprising strength this past summer as the country struggles slowly out of the recession. Virginia Chaves, director of global tour operations for Picasso Tours, for example, says family travel has been very strong this summer with a lot of business booked in June. “It’s unusual to see that much business booking and traveling within 45 days for our destinations—everything we’re doing is a long-haul destination.” And, according to Chaves, one of the big reasons is the change in the marketplace—not just because of the economy—changes that have come since the aftermath of 9/11 and the market and supplier changes in family accommodations, services and marketing focus spurred by the incredible rise in family and multi-generational travel. “I think more and more people are realizing that they are able to travel with their kids easily because the destinations welcome them and make it more affordable for them,” she says. Indeed, says Wildland Adventures’ president, Kurt Kutay, “We started in Costa Rica, where demand has remained and the infrastructure and facilities have matured to the point where we can offer five different age- and activity-friendly tours.” He adds that, “The family market is amazing, a booming niche that produces not only kind-of-easy-to-sell group travel, but a niche that has a high enlistment of repeat travelers.” Globus, too, is very happy with its family travel business this year, both domestically and internationally. Jennifer Halboth, director of marketing for the Globus Family of Brands, points out that one of its brands, Monograms, is one they particularly recommend for families as the ideal family travel style, because family travelers can avoid the bus tour scenario but still get support from local Monograms guides. The reason for all this, of course, is demand.

And in our view, probably the two biggest elements that changed the dynamics of family travel was the cruise industry and the growth of all-inclusive resort product. The latter made more exotic family travel more affordable for the middle class and the growth of the cruise industry and the proliferation of the overall cruise industry fleet and the family services it offered, made family travel more affordable for the masses.

st. vincent and the grenadines specialist program In this issue we welcome our newest education program offering—the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Specialist Program, highlighting one of the Caribbean’s most beautiful regions. This in-depth program will introduce you to exotic locales and superb accommodation options—all with a freshness and an overall island destination appeal your Caribbean-loving clientele will jump at the chance of experiencing. So take the specialist course in this issue or online (available at recommend.com/education) to become a St. Vincent and the Grenadines Specialist and reap the sales rewards and the benefits being offered to you by the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Tourism Authority, including free FAM trip opportunities and continuing education credit from The Travel Institute and the Canadian Institute of Travel Counsellors.

correction In Recommend’s July issue, in the New Zealand: Taking the Kiwi Leap in Queenstown feature, we printed the wrong phone number for Down Under Answers. The correct number is (877) 888-6227. We apologize for the misprint.

next month
Break out the top hat and sequined ball gowns—it’s time for our second Spa & Luxury issue of the year, highlighting the world’s most exotic and sensuous spas alongside some of the most drop-dead gorgeous resorts and hotels your high-end clients will love. In the meantime, have a great read.