The New York Times Travel Show is a very anticipated annual event and 2016 was no exception. It is open to the public and draws close to 30k people during this three day event. This year Vacationkids was humbled and honored to participate in an expert's panel hosted by the Family Travel Association along with Laura Begley Bloom of Yahoo Travel and Elaine Alimonti of Lonely Planet.
Besides answering traveling questions for parents and press, the event gave me the opportunity to meet so many clients and social media friends face to face. The NY Times travel show is a prime opportunity to hear about all the latest news, products and trends in travel from all parts of the globe. There is so much to see and learn, even for "experts". Here's my top 10 of stand-outs out for 2016....
- Multi-generational travel continues to be the big buzz word and trend across the entire industry. There is less and less differentiation between kid specific and Adult only travel products. Resorts, cruises and tour companies are offering more and more products to help bring families together and satisfy everyone with a balance of amenities and activities. We continue to see more kid friendly luxury travel products. One prime example is how River Cruise companies are offering more and more family ships and sailings. Great news for parents and Grandparents looking to share experiences with their little ones.
- Marriage equality has lead to huge growth in destination gay and lesbian weddings. The prediction is that as more gay and lesbian couples become parents there will be an increased need for inclusive family vacations for these children.
- Volunterism Vacations are growing in popularity, especially with millennials and families. We're seeing more and more child friendly options here with family tours like Gadventures Planeterra and Carnival Cruise Lines new Fathom Cruises.
- The Cruise industry continues to grow and expand. A total of 7 new ships were added in 2015 with a total passenger capacity of 18,813. From 2016 to 2017, 15 more new cruise ships will come online which will nearly double cabin capacity. Considering only 24% of the U.S. population have ever sailed on a cruise, more local ports, more destinations and new on-board/on-shore activities that match demands of consumers.
- It's not just about the destination...it's all about the experience. Looking for a unique vacation, how about a luxury South Pacific Freighter cruise to Tahiti or learn about Mustangs (not the car - the nearly extincted horses in South Dakota.
- Parents always worry about keeping their kids happy and healthy, especially when they hit the road. The Center for Disease control has revamped their Traveler's Health website. It's now much more user friendly. Parents can search every country on the planet, filter by the type of trip AND get specific pediatric health tips just for kids.
- Lonely Planet Kids has a whole new library of fantastic titles that will engage and inspire explorers of all ages. These books are the kind that kids will cherish and parents will enjoy reading over and over again. This kid can't wait to start filling the shelves for her grandson! Best kid gifts EVER!
- Tours By Locals is like the Uber of guided tours. Whether by land or by sea connect with locals who are experts in their own back yards.
If there is one criticism that I have about the New York Times Travel show it really needs to become more family friendly. I would love to see lots more kids specific activities, events and learning. I believe the travel industry needs to come together to help raise and nurture our next generation of vacationers, travelers and world explorers. The most exciting thing I heard at the show was a rumor that my wishes just might come true in 2017. Finger's crossed and stay tuned.....