Go back to the enewsletter Fiveyearold Arts fa

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterFive-year-old Art’s fascination with Japanese cuisine led dad, James, and mother, Natalie, to be in Tokyo learning the intricacies of sushi-making in April this year.  The young family took part in the aptly named 12-day Japan Family Holiday itinerary operated by Intrepid Travel, coinciding with the school holidays.Intrepid’s Family Holidays have been operating for several years now. They share the hallmarks of the company’s long-standing experiences – meeting local people, trying the food and getting to understand the customs and culture of another country – but operate at a slower pace to better suit children.From one day to the next, there is a steady stream of activities to keep youngsters enthralled and entertained. For example, a morning walking tour through bustling Shinjuku en route to a calligraphy class in the back streets of Tokyo gives way to an afternoon of downtime and relaxation.Art was the youngest traveller in the small group. Also on the trip were a mix of British, German, Kiwi and Aussie clans.After three nights in Japan’s capital, the group ventures to Hakone in the foothills of Mt Fuji for some fresh air for two nights. A bullet train journey has the families arrive in Hiroshima, where they spend two nights sleeping on traditional tatami mats, before wrapping up with a four-night stay in Kyoto.The groups are limited to no more than 16 passengers (and average at 12), which generally equates to between three and five families taking part. And they intentionally operate during Australian school holidays, so it’s not necessary to pull the kids out of school.Art quickly connects with a six-year-old on the holiday. A similar bond occurs between a 12- and 14 year-old-and likewise, a 15- and 17-year-old.“It’s interesting to watch your child connect with other kids. It happens so quickly,” Art’s dad said.For James, it was a case of sampling the product he oversees as the Chief Executive Officer of the Melbourne-based adventure tour operator, Intrepid Travel.“The reason we chose Japan was because of Art’s love of sushi. His mother and I thought, ‘let’s go to the place where sushi was created’. It was a great learning experience that we wouldn’t otherwise have had,” James explained.“Art learned how to write his name in calligraphy and we took part in a cooking class to make some local cuisine. Plus we learnt how to handle chopsticks and a bit of the local language.”Family holidays are on the rise with Intrepid. The company’s itineraries that cater for mums, dads and kids grew by 27% in 2017 for the Australian and New Zealand market, including a quadrupling of trips over the Christmas period.Intrepid now has over 40 family itineraries on offer to 31 countries. That mix includes a selection of combinations and some departures specifically aimed at teenagers.“These kinds of family experiences are continuing to grow in popularity.”“I think it’s a great way to see the world. As a parent, we’re very conscious of where we go on holiday. While flopping at a beach is nice and relaxing, an adventure like this gets kids off their electronic devices and has them experience the real world.”And it’s not just the classic family unit of two parents and their kids travelling more.“We are conscious of the changing dynamics of the traditional nuclear family, so we’ve also introduced solo parent trips. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, 15% of Australian families are being raised by single parents and we recognised there was an opportunity for those households too.“They may not for some reason be comfortable doing a traditional family trip, so we’ve launched a series of solo parent trips to three or four destinations. It’s a good example of how Intrepid looks at the trends coming through, from the consumer, from web insights, social media and listening to our partners, that then help us evolve our product,” James said.Vietnam tops Intrepid Travel’s list of top 10 destinations for families, followed by Thailand and Malaysia. Also in the most popular mix of tours are India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Morocco, Italy, South Africa and Japan.Words by LATTE Managing Editor, Guy DundasAll images used with permission.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img

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