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Traveling in Style: Rise of Pet Tourism
Posted on : 03/07/2014 06:55:34 AM

In recent years, the ever-growing tourism industry has enhanced itself in a variety of ways, becoming one of the most diverse and open-ended business ventures. Everything from sustainable travel to promoting local tourism to supporting charitable causes and increasing accessibility has benefited several corporations and home-grown companies for the better, particularly travel packages that offer “a home away from home.” Pet tourism is one of the many endeavors which complete this package, with several destinations offering pet-friendly facilities as well as transportation services willing to accommodate pets in transit. Cats, dogs, and other furry (as well as scaly or feathered) family members are able to travel safely and in comfort, a large part in thanks to the tourism sector as well as responsible pet owners following a few simple travel tips to optimize the traveling experience.

Take the A Train

Depending on the country and its specific regulations, transportation services are adopting a more liberal approach to personal pets traveling with their owners. In November of last year, several congressmen made a strong campaign – alongside the company of their four-legged friends – for Amtrak to change its policies and allow pets on trains (currently, only service animals are permitted). Arguing that train transport is the most stress-free for animals (no change in air pressure, smooth, fast, and without the lengthy airport security checks) several supporters also reasoned that Amtrak could adjust its carriages to comfortably accommodate pets if they cannot be seated directly with their owners. With so many avid pet-lovers who prefer to stay at home rather than journey without their beloved companions, Amtrak could see this change as a savvy venture which would help them to increase profits.

Meanwhile, more and more regional and international airlines are expanding their capacity for pet travel by allowing pets on their flights. International regulation requires – again, depending on country – that pet owners carry a “pet passport” or some kind of registered document which ensures authorities that the animal is in good health and is up to date on their vaccinations. This is critical for those journeying to the UK for instance – which has remained Rabies-free due to a vigilant (though arguably harsh until recent years) program. The comfort of this travel is extended by companies which specialize in pet travel such as Airpets, and airlines themselves. American Airlines, for example, allows passengers to take pets either on board, or in baggage or cargo cabins which are heated and pressurized for their safety.

In the Lap of Luxury

For pets entertaining more decadent tastes (and owners who are sea-faring types) the art of travel has reached new levels. Cruises are a blissful combination of both travel and destination, and now, more cruiseliners are offering excursions catered towards pet owners and their animals. Delightful menus, professional dog walkers, veterinary staff and safe play areas are just a few of the amenities they generously provide, so that a trip to some of the world’s best locations can truly be a full family experience. As well, several pet hotels are popping up all over the country, many of them even designed to be pet-only. With famous chains like the Ritz-Carlton hopping on board to offer luxurious accommodation and exciting activities, a dog’s life doesn’t sound too bad when it comes to staying in some of the top dog hotels in the country. Everything from massages to great outdoor walkies are offered in beautiful locales where both pets and owners can get in a little rest and recoup time.

For other alternatives, there are always kennels and catteries (which also come with specific regulations regarding health) and several hotels, rented houses and cabins which allow pets. The Hilton is one such chain, with locations in several regions like New York and London. Their Home2 suite specifically aims to create a “home-away-from-home” atmosphere for cats and dogs. These offer reasonable prices for allowing up to two pets per stay.

While other types of pets are not as openly accommodated (certain exotic species may not be permitted under a state’s laws) the increasing pet tourism industry means that more and more animals are able to get away and enjoy some family fun without the usual anxieties of travel or being separated from their owners. After all, if Barbra Streisand’s dog Sammy can go on tour, why not your pooch too?

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