Past Keynote Speakers |  View a gallery of ETC brochure covers through the years.

About ETC Conferences                    

The Educational Travel Conference (ETC) hosts 450 delegates absorbed in several days of inspired sessions, first-rate social venues, and educationally rich "experiences" on site. The Conference is purposely kept intimate to ensure high-quality networking and small group educational experiences with like-minded individuals and/or like organizations. ETC is the founding conference for Alumni, Museum, Zoo, Conservation, and Nonprofit Educational Travel. Nowhere has such a highly-qualified international group of nonprofit travel planners, suppliers, specialty tour operators and destinations been assembled to focus on the development, operation and marketing of group educational, experiential and affinity travel worldwide.

"This conference is the one place where we all come together, share ideas, learn what's new, what's working and what isn't." Philip Lovejoy, Executive Director, Harvard Alumni Association.


Since 1987 ETC has provided timely educational travel training, professional development, and affinity-based networking forums expressly designed for professionals serving this special-interest, niche tourism market. Designed to address the issues of most critical importance today to alumni, museum and nonprofit travel, a substantive educational program with outstanding speakers delivers a vertically rich and integrated educational experience over the course of several days with 30+ educational sessions, collegial roundtables, skills workshops, plus networking opportunities and special events. ETC attendees collaboratively grapple with the ethical, business, programming and marketing issues that face nonprofit and affinity travel programs today, including ways to enhance and improve the competitiveness of program offerings, alumni/member engagement, revenue return, and new traveler recruitment. Each year, a diversity of sessions is offered on perennial topics such as risk management, marketing, trends, media, product development, industry issues, responsible tourism and travel planner roundtables, plus a vast array of timely topics discussed in special interest group (SIG) sessions.

"Each year, though I should know better by now, I am surprised anew by the amount of information presented at the conference, and by the fact that it is attended by dozens of educational institutions offering travel programs. This conference is, every year, an incredible achievement. This is the only professional development conference I attend. It has everything I need in one place and is always presented by experts in whatever information I'm seeking—marketing, legal issues, travel trends, finding capable travel providers. This conference is INVALUABLE to me."
Heidi Quiram, Study Travel Director, Center for Lifelong Learning, St. Olaf College

As nonprofit travel planners have explicitly required that education be the top priority, the Conference is not designed, delivered or promoted as a trade show. The quality of educational sessions for professional development and the value of special entertainment and meals for networking have remained the top priority without commercial compromise. Every year the hallmark of ETC is strong content and creative programming choices. The formidable lineup of plenary speakers and diverse session formats and topics speaks volumes about the quality and timeliness each year of the agenda focus, the fresh approach to program delivery, the practical value of take home information and intensity and integrity of collegial discussions and networking. The quality and relevance of educational sessions, the targeted focus on travel issues, and the invaluable collegial interaction not only with colleagues from like institutions or like-size programs, but also with credible and proven travel partners, remain central to the Conference mission.

Designed and operated from its inception as an educational resource, the ETC remains committed to its core objectives:

Delivering "content rich" conferences with cutting edge agendas

"This is the most content-laden conference in the travel industry."
Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism, and Conservation,
World Wildlife Fund

Promoting profitable planner-supplier partnerships
LeslieRowley"Having attended ETC on two sides of the business, as both an operator and now as an alumni travel planner, I can attest to the conference's positive position as the most important learning event of the year. I can and do vociferously tout ETC as the place to go for quality instruction and guidance from (and brainstorming with) the most talented and thoughtful group of colleagues one could assemble." Leslie Jennings Rowley, Executive Manager, Princeton Journeys, Princeton University
Building community through high quality networking and online resources
"I first attended the Educational Travel Conference in 2004. As the travel planner for the Alumnae Association of Smith College travel program. I find the conference helps me to stay energized when planning my program. The conference helps me to bring "the world" to our participants in new and creative ways. It also gives us all a sense of unity, healthy competition and an opportunity to develop lasting friendships in a fun environment. A marvelous chance to learn about all that is new and fascinating in the travel industry as well as making new connections and re-uniting with old friends. I look forward to many more conferences. It is the highlight of my working year!" Elizabeth Bigwood, Director for Travel Program, Alumnae Association of Smith College
Raising the bar of industry professionalism through training
"This is my 5th year attending ETC. Each year I take away not only a wealth of new information from the seminars, but also from the new people who I meet each year. ETC has been an important part of the growth of the Georgia Tech Alumni Travel program and my own growth as a travel planner."
Martin Ludwig, Director of Travel, Georgia Tech Alumni Association

 • Advancing and transforming mission driven programming and responsible tourism agendas

Alicia"One of my favorite aspects of ETC is that it is a complex, multi-layered experience. At its most basic level, it is a conference, and at this task it excels: replete with provocative guest speakers, the bustling bazaar, and exciting events/dinners. On another, deeper level, it is an annual gathering of friends and family, a magical international shin dig of epic proportions. And on the deepest level, it is a sound, productive, benevolent, year-round community, active in the most essential, meaningful ways, whether it be empathetic calls among competitors during crisis, who feel less competitive after so many years of meeting at ETC, or meticulously planned initiatives, small groups of us working together for sustainable development, leveraging tourism and our (largely ETC related) relationships for poverty alleviation, community development, and conservation." Alicia Stevens, Director of Global Programs, Columbia University School of the Arts

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