ETC’s Annual Conference
Professional development & relationship building for those who work in educational or affinity travel
Expect well-curated professional development!
The annual conference delivers a timely agenda, inspirational BOLD talks, hot topic colleague exchanges, multi-tiered educational tracks, intensive workshops, and hands-on learning labs.
Expect relationship-building, not a trade show!
The International Bazaar affords the opportunity for B-2-B meetings with a global selection of colleagues and networking in a no-pressure environment.
Delivering dynamic and diverse idea exchange, mindful conversations, powerful collaborations plus ample networking and fun-filled social events.
The Educational Travel Consortium’s Annual Conference assembles an international group of top-level decision makers from both nonprofit institutions and for-profit companies who focus specifically on special-interest and lifelong-learning group travel. The following three distinct groups attend the conference:
1) Nonprofit Travel Planners
Large and small travel programs are represented from alumni associations and continuing and international education departments; art, science, and natural history museums; cultural and preservation organizations; zoos, aquariums, and conservation groups; and from national and regional nonprofit organizations and affinity associations.
“Excellent source of tour selection and management of information and best single resource for educational travel networking.” Robert Fure, Lifelong Learning, Washington & Lee University
Approximately 160-210 nonprofit travel planners from across the USA and Canada participate each year. In attendance are key decision makers such as executive directors and program managers, as well as program support staff.
Some of the participants are: Dartmouth College, Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel), American Museum of Natural History, Stanford Alumni Association, Oakland Museum of California, Arizona Alumni Association, Washington & Lee University, Philadelphia Zoo, California Alumni Association–Berkeley, Harvard Alumni Association, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, National Geographic Society, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institution, The Nature Conservancy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, The Sierra Club, UCLA Alumni Travel, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alumni Association of the University of Michigan
“This is the most content-laden conference in the travel industry.” Jim Sano, Vice President of Travel, Tourism, and Conservation, World Wildlife Fund
2) Leading U.S. Tour Operators and Suppliers
In addition to forging connections between travel planners from similar institutions, ETC brings together key special-interest group travel operators, destinations, and suppliers from all corners of the world. No other meeting assembles so many experts dedicated to serving this educational, alumni, and nonprofit travel market niche.110+ special-interest tour operators and 50+ specialty suppliers, from more than 40 international destinations, attend and exhibit. Companies and businesses represented include: Academic Arrangements Abroad, Distant Horizons, Odysseys Unlimited, Lindblad Expeditions, MIR, Nomadic Expeditions, Alaska Wildland Tours, Global Adrenaline, Oberoi Hotels & Resorts, USI Travel Insurance Services, Egyptair, Organization for Tropical Studies, Alumni Holidays, and TCS Expeditions.
“Best educational experience in the industry.” Marilyn Downing Staff, Founder and Past President, Asia Transpacific Journeys
3) Special Interest Domestic and International Destinations and DMCs
ETC has destinations from around the globe— Asia, Africa, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the South Pacific and Australia, and the United States. State and foreign national government tourist offices, destination marketing organization specialists and city tourist bureaus participate, as well as in country receptive operators representing over 40 countries across the globe.A sampling of these attendees from past conferences include: PromPeru, Dubai Tourism, China National Tourist Office, Japan National Tourism Organization, New Brunswick Tourism and Parks, Mexico Tourism Board, Philippine Department of Tourism, India Tourism, Korea Tourism Organization, Costa Rica Tourism Board, Visit Wales, Tourist Office of Spain, Travel Alberta, Tourism Malaysia.
Percentage of ETC delegates' business activity (by sector) dedicated to Educational Travel programming (by category)
The pioneer Educational Travel Annual Conference was convened in 1987 as an educational resource to support nonprofits in travel. It expanded to facilitate the growth of a robust and vibrant Educational Community, and in the 32 years since, the Educational Travel Consortium (ETC) continues its hallmark commitments to education and service. In our document library, you can view the 25-year Commemorative document.
Yes, membership is required to attend ETC’s Annual Conference – a member-only event.
ETC aims to “walk the talk” of sustainable tourism by researching cities and communities that are impacted and benefited by the ETC Conference. Our Executive Advisory Council (EAC), support the destinations where we can showcase experiential and sustainable community learning experiences and provide high value to our membership. Destinations are typically steeped with some compelling combination of history, music, culture, heritage, community arts, and nature.
To preserve an intimate networking environment, conference size is kept to 325-350 delegates. A wait list is established for demand exceeding space.
For Travel Planners there is no restriction on the number of attendees who can attend per organization. Consider taking your entire staff to take advantage of significant and sequential registration discounts for one registrant + from the same organization.
There is a two-person registration limit per tour operator, supplier, and destination company/organization. Both individuals must work within the same company/organization. This registration policy ensures a well-balanced ratio of 1 to 2 travel planners to tour operators, suppliers and destinations and delivers one of the most productive networking platforms in the travel industry.
In recognition of their sponsorship, official ETC sponsoring partners have the exclusive benefit option of registering additional delegates based on their sponsorship level.
To ensure equity of registration fees, and to provide a detailed marketing profile for each subsidiary, the parent company and subsidiaries must register under their own company names. One tabletop display desk and sign is then assigned to each company. Upon request, parent and subsidiary companies may be grouped together in the International Bazaar for branding and convenience purposes. Please request this group placement via email.
To preserve equity in registration fees, Conference policy precludes badge sharing. Each delegate is provided their own personalized badge for conference access.
For your protection, privacy, and general Conference security purposes, badges are required to be visible at all times to enter Conference sessions, events and the International Bazaar. Conference management reserves the right to ask you to show your badge when you are in the International Bazaar or upon entry to sessions and evening events.
Any individual not officially registered for ETC will not have a badge. Registered delegates are asked to refrain from doing business on site with any individual not displaying an official Conference badge as their presence would be at the direct expense of registered delegates whose paid registration fees make this Conference possible. This also includes “badgeless” representatives who have not personally registered but may have their company/organization represented already with two delegates at the Conference.
Lost badges may be replaced but at a substantial fee.
As the print run is based on the number of delegates registered, replacement Conference Resource Directories are not available on site. ETC members can access the e-Conference Resource Directory online post-conference. This e-Directory includes a listing of all late registrants.
At the direct and explicit request of travel planners, registration lists are not provided to each delegate prior to the Conference. Significant numbers of unsolicited promotional emails and mass mailed marketing pieces have eliminated the option of providing advance registration lists to all delegates. However, paid delegates with completed organizational profiles can view a list of attendees/organizations with completed profiles via the online CONNECTS meeting scheduler. This online tool is accessible one month prior to the Conference. Official sponsoring partners receive advance delegate lists as a benefit of their support.
Organizational profiles and member profiles are very important to complete as they serve to identify the key priorities you require when doing business with partners, thereby filtering potential connections that are not aligned with your interests and operations. Profiles also provide a way for planners to quickly peruse the member database in search of potential vendors well-matched to their current needs or program focus, and vice versa. Each organizational profile was designed by the member group aligned with their specific profile – Planners, Operators, Suppliers, or Destinations. When first completing an organizational profile it takes a bit of concentrated time. Each year however, it takes only a few minutes to update 3-4 questions.
Only official ETC sponsors are extended the benefit of convening – at specified times where published officially in the agenda – private invitational breakfast roundtables, cocktail parties, and dinners. The hosting by general delegates and/or companies/organizations of private parties, pre-planned invitational dinners, receptions and hospitality suites during the times on the official agenda listing sessions and venues serve to erode the collegial spirit of the ETC community, and conflict with the officially sponsored venues.
The Conference Organizer reserves the right to cancel current and decline future registration of all companies and delegates operating in violation of this protocol. No refunds will be made for violators wherein the protocol is strictly in place.
Business casual during the entire Conference, and festive attire during the evening events. On occasion, a very casual attire is noted on specific events.
Help ETC be a responsible meeting! The Conference Organizer confirms meals and seats solely based on the number of tickets requested by delegates on their registration form. When food guarantees are given to the venue/hotel, cancellations are not an option. Once food is served on event buffet tables it must be discarded.
Hosted by ETC sponsors at great expense, the ticketed evening meal venues typically cost sponsors $95+ per person. Delegates who “no show” cause significant loss of revenue for the hosts as well as unnecessary food overages. Precluded by health codes, the hotel cannot distribute food overages to shelters or food banks.
All ticketed sessions and evening events require pre-registration..
Some ticketed seminars and non-hosted box lunches are not included in the registration fee and may require additional fees where noted on the registration form.
Plan ahead for your participation in any/all of the special evening venues at the Conference. Make sure your space is reserved by signing up for tickets online when registering!
If you have signed up for ticketed sessions, your tickets will be attached to your delegate badge at the Registration desk upon check-in. If you have not requested your tickets prior to the Conference, you will likely not be able to secure tickets on site.
In advance, attendees can “request” meetings during the conference via the online CONNECTS schedule. The scheduler opens about one month before the conference.
There are four official CONNECTS meeting blocks. CONNECTS meeting times do not conflict with educational sessions.
Organizations that do not have a completed profile and fully paid registration are not featured on the list of organizations on the CONNECTS scheduler.
Your exhibit investment is affordable because we preclude the fanfare and give you the basic tools you need to create an effective presence at ETC. There is no need to spend huge sums of money shipping large display units in an attempt to compete with others. This minimalist approach allows delegates to invest their funds in what really counts: an opportunity to meet. With registration, all exhibitors are provided a turnkey display setup:
- One 6’ or 8’ tabletop with tablecloth
- 2-4 chairs
- Company sign
The simple tabletop display space provided, which consists of a tablecloth, drapery, and uniform signage, levels the playing field for all exhibitors—large and small. The simple table allows you to conveniently display brochures, provide introductions, share information, and facilitate long-term partnerships within the educational travel community. However, if you wish to bring your corporate or colorful tabletop covering (5′ wide, 16″ deep), this might be a nice accent. Pop up displays are precluded for general exhibitors excluding sponsoring partners. There are no electrical outlet options.
General exhibitor tabletop displays in the International Bazaar are limited to promotional brochures and portfolios that lie flat on the table. Suggested display materials are any flat items such as brochures, printed handouts, and business cards. Less is better, as visitors to the International Bazaar do not pick up vast amounts of literature. If you take brochures, it is recommended to limit the numbers to 50 of each type, and only those that are targeted, rather than generalized, for this affinity and educational travel market niche. Some seasoned exhibitors at ETC do not take more than 25 types of each brochure, finding it is best to mail information as a follow-up to meetings with colleagues. Other exhibitors do not take any brochures. Others take flash drives with digital information.
Prize drawings and other incentive awards are limited to those organizations that are official ETC sponsors and are coordinating with ETC for the Prizes Galore event held at the closing of the International Bazaar.
All pop-up banners, standing or tabletop posters, portable kiosks, large booth type displays, and/or audiovisual equipment are prohibited for general exhibitors excluding the official Conference sponsor displays located on Partners’ Boulevard. The Conference Organizer reserves the right to have general exhibitors remove all promotional props, easels, backdrop displays, sample foods, and other such materials if displayed, with the exception of those displayed on the Partners’ Boulevard.
Partners’ Boulevard is the most centrally located and heavily trafficked display space in the International Bazaar reserved for official ETC Conference Sponsors displays. The size of exhibit space assigned on Partners’ Boulevard is awarded to Sponsors according to the level of their sponsorship investment. All sponsors have the option of displaying colorful popups and promotional items showcasing their product/destination offerings. Interested in becoming a sponsor?
The Chattanooga Convention Center provides receiving services for your boxes. For shipping instructions, prices and deadlines please review this page.
Help ETC be a responsible meeting—and avoid boxes of brochures being discarded by the hotel following the conference. It is the responsibility of exhibitors to ensure all of their materials are removed in total from the International Bazaar prior to the official closing time. After the official closing time of the International Bazaar materials will be disposed of by the hotel staff. The hotel is not held liable or responsible for any remaining exhibitor materials.
Travel Planners are seeking itinerary opportunities rather than sales pitches.
Travel Planners and Tour Operators are seeking specialized destination knowledge versus generalized sightseeing ideas or broad-based brochures. We therefore recommend that destinations consider registering a product development professional as one of their onsite representatives. Preferably, this individual should be prepared to share outstanding knowledge of specialized itineraries, cutting-edge venues, specialized local guides, etc. and know what can be designed specifically in their destination for the educational travel market.
An abundance of good maps is always a great giveaway on site.
Many destinations opt to co-partner on official sponsorship venues in order to augment their presence and expand display space in the International Bazaar.
This community is so special & really is starting to feel like family!
The programming was fantastic and I certainly felt the value of, not only the networking, but key takeaways from the sessions.
Shannon Fuller, Shedd Aquarium
It was a fabulous conference. On top of being helpful, it was FUN!
Lisa Hill Benshea, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
I keep thinking about the conference - and it was awesome! I am so inspired and energized! I look forward to next year!
Beth Ray-Schroeder, Duke Alumni Travels
The SOW was such a valuable experience – it was great exploring each of the destinations and equally as great getting to know planner and industry colleagues. I really do find the SOW to be helpful to me as a planner, not only to see destinations through the lens of a travel planner but also to see how they run from the traveler’s perspective. Both the 2019 and this year’s SOW programs were both thought-provoking and inspirational! Keep up all your great work putting these together.
Jared Dial, National Parks Conservation Association
Another great conference! There’s always so much change going on in this industry and within our own institutions - it's good to come together to learn and connect.
Pauline Ranieri, University of Washington Alumni Tours
Congrats on the completion of another successful conference! I can only imagine how much work you and your team have put into making the experience so enriching, seamless and educational for us attendees and presenters.
Anu Taranath,University of Washington-Seattle
(The Seminar on Wheels was...) a wonderful educational experience, and with so many diverse activities! Recording an Elvis song at 8 a.m. was a great way to start a day. The warmth and hospitality of our guides made the tour especially enjoyable. I look forward to planning a program in that area soon.
Marguerite Jones, Senior Director, Alumni Services, Johns Hopkins University
Thank you for putting together such an outstanding conference. I truly do believe that it was the best ETC ever. When I think of all of the super stars that you were able to attract—Bryan Stevenson, Gerry Ellis, Peggy Wallace Kennedy, Speaker Sue—the list goes on an on—I am amazed and grateful, for they were each in their own way both deeply informative and inspiring. So, as I set forth on the first day of putting into practice the many things I learned, I want first to offer my congratulations and my heartfelt gratitude.
Rob Fure, Washington & Lee University
Thank you for a wonderful conference. It was fantastic from beginning to end. Loved the hotel, the incredible top notch sessions, the connect meetings, the amazing BOLD Talk speakers, spending time with colleagues and vendors and outstanding networking. I really enjoyed participating and being a part of the incredible week – my only complaint is it went by way too fast and I needed about 2 more days to visit with everyone and do more! I appreciate being a part of this tremendous community. Thank you for all you do for our travel community.
Jennifer Bohac, Texas A&M University Travel Programs
An amazing conference in Montgomery! It was both personally and professionally very beneficial for me – way more than this first-time attendee but long-time professional expected.
Cindy Todd, Tennessee Aquarium
The conference was AMAZING! It’s funny, on my first day more than one person told me I would be “overwhelmed” but that I would be okay. They weren’t kidding! It was overwhelming but in a good way. The Jumpstart program was invaluable and made all the difference in the world. The introductory dinner and presentation were the perfect way to kick off four days of education and networking I could not have gotten any place else. The Jumpstart program itself the following morning eased my new girl anxiety and made the rest of the conference seem a lot more manageable. Thank you for pointing out all the great materials for reference on the website. I am very excited to be a part of this community!
Victoria Guico, San Diego Zoo Global
I’m still reeling from such a great ETC! I had some really good facetime with operators and met some new folks, too. The sessions were FANTASTIC!!! I’m so glad that the reason Montgomery was chosen as the destination really shined. Anyone who’d been questioning it definitely got it. I went to the cultural tourism session on Thursday afternoon with just a small group of folks. I wish there’d been more of us, because it was a really cool panel to hear from! And we got a private tour of the Rosa Parks museum. Man, I grew UP around this stuff but still didn’t know half of the history!
Christine Kessler, The Nature Conservancy
Thank you for a phenomenal conference last month. As a first-time attendee, I was very impressed by the breadth and depth of the event, as well as the way it balanced networking, trade show components, serious content, and place-based tourism, while fostering connections and camaraderie among attendees.
Emily Schulman, Iconic Adventures
Thank you to everyone at ETC for all the work and the great conference. Great seeing everybody!
Kerstin Nordin, Global Marketing Initiatives
The moment I set foot in Tennessee I felt the sense of comraderie, and the passion and the commitment of ETC members. It is extremely valuable to connect to people and companies that share like-minded visions on topics like the future of experiential education, curating personalized and meaningful journeys and including sensitive topics like the challenges of overtourism. This was an experience with a group of people invested in not only the importance of educational journeys, but also on topics related to sustainable tourism and social accountability to the destinations we visit.
Pablo Palacios, amautas Ecuador
A very productive conference with a large and invested following. The overall experience was a plus for me, personally and professionally. I felt embraced and my perspective valued. It is a wonderful community.
John Francis, Sustainable Travel Council
Montgomery was amazing… I left feeling so inspired and connected to those I had an opportunity to experience MGM with. Kudos again for taking a risk and thinking outside the box. The IGNITE session was great exposure for what we are doing. Many connections and follow ups from my meetings that I have been doing since back in the office! Look forward to seeing you all again at next year’s conference and excited to see where it will be.
Yolanda Brown, UnCruise Adventures
I would like to sincerely thank Mara DelliPriscoli, Carole and all the ETC team for their hard work in providing such a unique incubation space for world-class educational and affinity travel planning, destination promotion and networking.
Ciarán Hyland, Failte Ireland
I would like to convey my heart felt “thank you” for another successful conference. As always, it was inspiring, enriching and educating for me. I have always considered ETC as the Mecca of all the travel industry meetings with a special mission. It is like a refinery where I always feel more tuned for the better. I very much look forward to 2020!
Yasar Karadag, New Faces Travel – Turkey
Wonderful destination. We’re grateful it was chosen as what we learned here has had a profound impact. Thanks for everything! See you in 2020!
Gina Carmo, Inspire Travel
Yet another wonderful conference! I truly appreciate all the hard work as the conference keeps getting better and better every year.
Enrique Velasco, COLTUR Peru
I had no idea how much this conference would impact me personally! I will be bringing a group to Montgomery soon in hopes of sharing my experience.
Diana Lee Crew, Consultant
I thought that the ETC 2019 educational content was transcendental with the dynamic presentation formats rich in educational content and very relevant. While I only participated in the amazing Walk in the Footsteps of Americans Changing History, I heard many of the participants’ appreciation for all of the off-site content-rich learning labs.
Congratulations on a widely refreshing and energizing conference! Sue Hershkowitz-Coore delivers every year and people walk out raving with a pile of take-aways/nuggets! The Seminar on Wheels, Learning Labs were immersive experiences — rich, rewarding and impactful!
Karen Kuttner-Dimitry, Lindblad Expeditions
It was such an interesting and enriching experience for me, not only the conference itself, but also the people I met and the places we had the opportunity to visit. And then the final talk of Mr. Bryan Stevenson, what a exceptional way to conclude the event!
Alexandra Lizano, Travel Excellence
ETC's annual conference consistently receives rave reviews. Below is an archive from the last several years.
“I’m looking forward to attending my third conference in February. The contacts I have made and experiences you’ve provided have been invaluable to our young company. Thank you!”—Gina Carmo, Director, Inspire Travel (Brazil)
“Congratulations on a wonderful ETC 2010! I got so much work done. Having all my tour operators in one place, I completed my 2011 booking schedule (7 trips) and renewed old friendships!” —Betsy Stevenson, Coordinator of Foundation Travel, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
“Congratulations on putting on a fantastic conference this year. It had been a few years since I’d attended, and I’d forgotten what a special event it is. I felt like I got my money’s worth x 10.”—Matt Kareus, Director of Events and Special Projects, Global Explorers
“One of the best conferences in ETC history. It was especially useful now with so many programs and the industry in general in transition. I’ve heard nothing but praise for the great interaction and gutsy topics.”—Roberta M. Moore, Former Director, Alumni Continuing Education & Travel Office of Alumni Relations at Dartmouth College
“Another great conference. As usual it was very worthwhile for me.”—Linda S. Witt, Director, Sales/Client Relations, Educational Travel, USI Travel Insurance Services
“The conference has given me a great couple of days to step out of the trenches, refocus, and get new ideas…meet new colleagues, talk about benchmarks. I got good numbers that I can take back, as we have new goals and benchmarks coming from our organization. Being able to have this is very helpful. I have about 20 pages of great ideas.”—Katie Maschman, Travel Programs Manager, National Parks Conservation Association
“Congratulations on another very successful conference this year. ETC ’10 had a lot of great energy with strong interest in exploring ways to be more effective and to work smarter in this ‘post economic crisis.'”—Karen Kuttner-Capato, Vice President of Affinity & Charter Sales, Lindblad Expeditions
“Thank you for allowing Carol Orsborn and me to be a part of this year’s ETC 2010 Conference. We loved it! We enjoyed ourselves and appreciated getting to talk about a subject we love (engaging Boomer women). We really felt welcomed by the warm, enthusiastic, and engaged ETC community. I’ve never seen a conference quite like ETC!”—Stephen Reily, Founder/CEO, VibrantNation.com
“Thank you…for providing the opportunity for me to attend such a helpful and informative session for executive directors at ETC. I’ve been in alumni relations work for seven years now, but have never felt very knowledgeable about our travel program, and must admit it has not been given much of a priority among all our programs. That has now changed—I returned to Auburn feeling like I had a wealth of information and quite inspired (the travel staff were overjoyed!). We have a lot of work to do, but we’ll have fun growing our program to where it needs to be.”—Debbie L. Shaw, Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Executive Director, Auburn Alumni Association, Auburn Alumni Center
“Thanks to all of you who worked so hard to bring about another successful ETC conference. It was a great conference. Great speakers, good meeting space, and definitely lots of attention to detail. I’m sure most of us aren’t even half aware of all that you do to make this conference happen, but please know that it’s appreciated. It’s always one of the highlights of my year.”—Clark Oldroyd, Associate Director, University of Colorado at Boulder Alumni Association
“Many thanks for the Mentor Meet and Greet session. I benefited a lot from my mentor’s experience and guidance. I would like ETC to know I am indebted for this arrangement. It was an excellent conference!”—Samuel Seyoum, CTC, Manager Marketing and Groups, Picasso Travel
“Wanted to congratulate you on yet another successful ETC in Rhode Island. Overall the substance was solid! That’s what matters. I look forward to attending many more ETCs.”—Rumit Mehta, Founder, Immersion Journeys
“I had a tremendous experience and learned so much about the industry. The conference was very well organized and offered a great range of subjects. Coming from an outside industry, the topics that focused on technology and social media will prove very valuable as the travel industry is evolving and meeting the needs of younger demographics. I found the presenters and attendees to be very approachable and friendly, especially your staff. I came away with a better appreciation of the educational travel industry.”
—Barbara Anglisz, Adept Technologies, Inc.
“It was a wonderful conference. I feel fortunate I was able to be there. Thank you for including me in your team of volunteers. I loved it!”—Cy Britt, former Director of Travel and Regional Programs at Wellesley College
"Thank you for another great conference! I am still sorting through all that I learned!” —Chase Poffenberger, Executive Vice President, Academic Travel Abroad, Inc.
“Thank you for making it so easy for us to maximize our time and investment.” —Michael Chang, Instructor, New York University SCMP
“I truly cannot imagine the industry being as strong and connected as it is without the ETC conference and community. Congratulations on your accomplishments of these last 25 years and thank you for your hard and challenging work.” —Pauline Ranieri, Director, UW Alumni Tours, University of Washington Alumni Association
“If last year I was impressed, I must say this year’s ETC 2011 surpassed my expectations, it was excellent! And I can say such is the overall opinion. I always saw ETC as a great opportunity for a destination, and the best way to connect with the demands of a very specific market, to understand it, to become prepared.” —Mariano Proaño, General Manager, EXPLORECUADOR
“Kris and Jojo came back from ETC with great information. They enjoyed the contacts with colleagues and tour operators, and we all feel it is an important venue for Cal Discoveries to attend and to contribute where we can.” —Jackie Olson, Director, Cal Discoveries Travel
“Overall, another very successful conference-kudos to the entire, superb TLC team!” —Susan Lethbridge, Director of Business Development, Voyages to Antiquity
“This was my fourth ETC, and I have come back energized with a bunch of ideas and plans for the future. My congratulations to you for conducting yet another successful conference that has brought together a broad cross section of people.” —Ravi Ramaswamy, Executive Director, Indebo (India)
“Thanks to all who worked so hard to bring about another successful ETC conference. For the 25th anniversary, this was a really good conference—strong educational sessions and very well planned special events. The Community Dinner at the State Capital was a truly wonderful event. From the planning stage right up to the onsite problem solving and execution of the plan that took place, thank you for all that you did to make things run so smoothly. Great speakers, good meeting space, and definitely lots of attention to detail. As I said last year, ‘I’m sure most of us aren’t even half aware of all that you do to make this conference happen, but please know that it’s appreciated. It’s always one of the highlights of my year.’ Thank you and congratulations on another terrific conference.” —Clark Oldroyd, Associate Director, University of Colorado at Boulder Alumni Association
“What an amazing conference! As I said before, there could not be a better forum to learn and share innovative ideas about best practices and achieving best results in the field of educational travel.” —Maria Gross, Consultant, Travel Sales and Marketing
“ETC 2011 was an excellent conference with the Community Dinner the true highlight. The city of Providence certainly pulled together and pulled off an evening we will never forget. When I get to Providence again, I will be sure to visit some of the many restaurants that participated. Once again you put on a conference that was a benefit to all that attended. No other conference gives you the educational components in travel like this conference. Congratulations!” —Karen Anthony, Retired Director of Alumni Travel, University of Notre Dame Alumni Association
“The conference was excellent, also very well organized with good staff. I thought so myself and heard many good comments from other attendees. The 25th anniversary theme was also carried out very well. The Bazaar was well organized, good space and good signage, and the set-up created more traffic. The coffee area in the middle, as last year, was good and created more opportunities to network and meet clients. The speed networking system is good, everybody doesn’t use it, but more people used it than last year and it definitely should be kept. The speakers were also very good and with topics in tune with the times. The Saturday morning social networking sessions were also well attended and Sree is highly appreciated. The Community Dinner at the State House was spectacular, well organized, good networking, and a venue that tied in with historic and traditional themes, and it was also interesting to see the venue.” —Kerstin Nordin, Marketing North America, Iceland Travel
“Thank you for ETC. I’m thrilled to say that as a result of the relationships forged and fostered through ETC we’re finding success selling our Death Valley walking/hiking geology tour to the community. Our tour for the MIT Alumni Travel Program has already sold out, and we have other alumni groups interested in going in 2012. Our original client for this tour was Patrick Wagner at Smithsonian Journeys–we’re doing our fourth tour for them in March–anyway, he told me a few years ago that I needed to attend ETC and I’m so glad he did and I listened!” —Fred Ackerman, Chief Shepherding Officer, Black Sheep Adventures
“January 2012 was my first ETC and I found it extremely informative with a comprehensive agenda, excellent speakers and relevant content. Well done!”—Cheryl Mell, Senior VP, Global Experiences/Conservation Ambassador, John G. Shedd Aquarium (Chicago)
“ETC 2012 was my first ETC conference, and I really got a lot of great ideas and things to think about in the sessions. Great discussion and new ideas were formed out of them. I think the networking with others who have the same job you do is very valuable. The sessions are informative and give practical ideas you can take back to your organization and implement. Sometimes conferences just talk in general terms about how to improve an aspect of an organization but with the ETC conference I came away with actual ideas and steps I can immediately implement here in my organization.”—Lea Ann Quirk, Coordinator of Alumni Services, University of Oklahoma Alumni Association
“The opportunities to meet and network with other planners is key to this event. It was wonderful to meet others who plan tours as I do. We had opportunities to discuss what is working, how to reach more travelers, etc. Hearing from guest speakers was a highlight. Each offered his or her perspective on different aspects affecting our industry, and their insight was very relevant to what we do.”—Susan Bowe, Travel Program Manager, William and Mary Alumni Association
“The ETC educational sessions are high quality. The 1 1/2 hour concurrent session format allows for maximum learning and valuable Q&A.”—Elizabeth DeGaetano, Associate Director, American Museum of Natural History Expeditions
“I expected ETC to be more of a trade show, but it was much deeper and it focused on relationships within the industry—not just for advancing economic gain, but more importantly to feel energized by the notion of the value of travel and what we do for a living.”—Elisabeth Hakim, UK and North American Markets Coordinator, PromPeru
“This Conference is so important to me and has taught me so much. I have made great friends while attending ETC. They have become invaluable resources when I have a question.”—Shellie Andersen, Director of Alumni Travel and Student Programs, Iowa State Alumni Association
“What a fabulous conference you all organized yet again. I came away with so much from just the one day I was able to attend. I think ETC is one of the most valuable conferences ever.”—Elaine Liles, Assistant Director, Alumni Programs, Rollins College
“Thanks for another extraordinary conference! ETC 2012 had great energy, and you could feel it!”—Karen Kuttner-Dimitry, Vice President of Affinity & Charter Sales, Lindblad Expeditions
“The maturation and evolution of ETC has been stunning. This is not true of a lot of conferences and communities. We care about making each other successful – we care about the community, our travelers and our mission. And that is what makes this community and conference unique. That’s why people like coming and enjoy the networking. It feels good but it is also productive.” —Steven Lembke, Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Road Scholar
“I thought this year’s programs at ETC 2012 were great. I particularly value the sessions with Sree [Sreenivasan] and hope that he can return next year. He’s really the best!”—MaryBeth Mullen, Marketing Director, Smithsonian Journeys
“I really enjoyed ETC this year, but I have every year! I very much enjoyed the Travel Planner sessions the first day.”—Lisa Valentine, Director, UA Alumni Travel, University of Arizona Alumni Association
“I felt I made more connections with other travel planners [at ETC 2012], and this was likely due to the first travel planner day—which was a great aspect of the conference.”—Lisa Hill, Mgr of Travel & Special Programs, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
“ETC 2012 was an enriching and fulfilling experience. This being my second year attending, I found it even more useful than last year. I am certain many people offer their thanks, so I want to add mine and let you know how much this conference and the entire ETC community helps me to improve the travel program at Utah State University. The entire conference was filled with useful and dynamic presentations that spark new ideas and destinations to explore.”—Scott Olson, Director Travel, Utah State University
“I enjoyed ETC 2012 a lot. This was the best ETC for me in the past 20 years!”—Charlotte Xu, Executive Director, China Advocates
“I have no idea how the ETC team pulls off an event like ETC. I have been in event management in the past and your operation is massive yet you pull it off with clockwork efficiency. So many concurrent events and speakers to manage, plus all the behind-the-scenes planning and logistics…you deserve a gold medal!!! And then some!”—Laurian Powers, Marketing & Business Development, Spirit of Africa
“We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing conference you and your team put together. It was an amazing experience for us, and we know that the real work starts after the conference. I know that the Israeli companies felt it was a good event too. Looking forward to continuing our cooperation with ETC. Thanks again for everything!“—Shahar Alon, Director of Northeast (U.S.) Region, Israel Ministry of Tourism
“Just a brief note to thank you once again for including me in the ETC conference this past weekend. I could not have been treated with more kindness or generosity, and I very much enjoyed my participation. The conference was extremely well organized and executed, and one cannot help but be impressed with the professionalism and the seriousness of purpose with which the participants approached each session. You clearly have a strong and production organization, for which I congratulate you.”—Laurent Boetsch (guest presenter), Professor of Romance Languages, Director, Center for International Education, Washington and Lee University
“Thank you for all the time and hard work you put into this conference! Face time with colleagues and potential travel partners is so valuable.”—Lea Ann Quirk, Coordinator of Alumni Programs, University of Oklahoma Alumni Association
“In some ways it’s one-stop shopping. Everything you need is here at the conference. It provides the opportunity to meet with several new possible travel operators and destinations, as well as time to meet with existing travel partners. Plus, it offers the professional development aspect that is tailored especially for this audience. It’s a nice package.”—Clark Oldroyd, Associate Director, University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association
“This was my 2nd ETC and it was good! As a relatively new professional in the field, I found the experience to be of great value. The highlights of this year’s conference were reconnecting with colleagues from across the country and learning the latest best practices.”—Daniel J. Stypa, Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs, Rice University
“Most conference activites and meals are sponsored for planners, which is a great value, especially for programs with tight budgets. There is no other annual opportunity for planners to meet. I would absolutely recommend this conference to colleagues because the networking is invaluable.”—Aleksandra Matic, Associate Director, Member Travel, The Art Institute of Chicago
“I have attended the ETC eight times now, and this was the best one yet! I particularly like that the sponsors of the meals were given a good chance to showcase their programs. With the bazaar time more focused, generally there were representatives at every table. I loved the cooking class with Chef Salvador; I now know how to make green tomato sauce. Excellent work. The key recommendations for this conference are the many contacts that are made for planning trips and the chance to compare programs and learn from colleagues at other institutions and experts in related fields.”—Amy Goerwitz, Director, Temple Travels, Temple University Alumni Association
“Overall, we thought the conference was an excellent opportunity for us to connect with current clients as well as prospects. We were thrilled to see that every person who made a CONNECTS meeting appointment with us actually showed—that’s just unheard of at a conference!”—Evie Task, Manager, Communications, Meyer and Associates
“Another great conference. Learned a TON and it was great to see all my ETC friends. Looking forward to next year already!”—Bobbi Collins, Director, Marketing & Business Operations, U. S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
“Thank you for putting on such a great Educational Travel Conference again this year. I truly felt it was quite well-organized and flowed well. Congratulations!”—Jay Parker, Key Account Sales Manager, Avalon Waterways
"Thanks for hosting such a great ETC gathering. It was honestly one of the best that I’ve attended and I left with many great ideas that I’m already working to implement and put into practice here at Rice. Thank you for your tireless efforts to make the conference a reality! ~ Dan Stypa, Associate Director of Alumni Programs, Rice University
I thought the conference was well-organized and filled with substance this year.
~ Scott Williams, Retired, University of Illinois Alumni Association
Thanks again for a marvelous conference. I was very impressed with the website,
Connects scheduling tool, and the email updates. ~ Jay Parker, Key Account Sales Manager, Avalon Waterways
Overall, the feedback from the 2016 conference was very positive! Everyone raved about the quality and caliber of the keynotes and plenary sessions.
~ Karen Kuttner Dimitry, Vice President of Affinity/Charter Sales, Lindblad Expeditions
The 2016 conference was gracefully and efficiently delivered — another stellar conference which reinforced the need for this community. 30 years is quite an accomplishment!
Highlights for me were Curtis Simic – and Wade Davis, and Sheena Iyengar. All were inspiring and brought tears to my eyes! Also Joe Diaz – was right on point for what we do!!! ~ Roberta Moore, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Academic Arrangements Abroad
Many thanks to the ETC team for their support of delegates and to me personally. They made me feel that I am part of the ETC, and their help made it easy to catch up of what I missed in the first 2 days. Personally I do appreciate all what the ETC team has done. I must congratulate you as a team for the professionalism of handling all logistics of the ETC.
Looking forward working and joining the coming 2017 ETC. ~ Mahmoud Khodeir, Marketing Director, Windows of Egypt Tours
“I enjoyed ETC 2015, it just gets better and I get better at using the conference. I always knew the value of the conference. The educational level of the conference has allowed my colleague to get a higher paying job because of what she has learned at ETC.”
Elisabeth Hakim, UK & North America Markets Coordinator, PromPeru
“Fabulous ETC 2015 conference.”
Janet Moore, Owner, Distant Horizons
“ETC 2015 was extremely well-run and professional from start to finish. Planners appreciated the chance to have a take-away that’s a tangible outcome they can use for their programs immediately.”
Tony Rango, National Outings Director, Sierra Club
“ETC 2015, inspirational speakers are phenomenal. The CONNECTS meetings are getting better and better and I use them to learn the landscape better.”
Bobbi Collins, Director, Membership & Business Operations, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association
“The ETC conference is a guiding light.”
Steve Lembke, Former Vice President, Institutional Advancement, Road Scholar
“ETC has enriched my professional growth and I have learned so much at ETC.”
Lauren Summers, Director of Marketing, North America, Visit Wales
“Preparation for speakers and moderators and advanced materials is the best I’ve seen in any conference.”
Jim Sano, Vice President of Travel, Tourism and Conservation, World Wildlife Fund
“ETC 2015 was a fantastic conference. Sessions were well received. Energy in the bazaar was fantastic.”
Regina Cross, Director of Alumni Travel, Michigan State University Alumni Association
“Great energy at ETC 2015. Sessions were inspiring and had practical tips focused to the ETC travel community. Risk management and genius bar were a great component.”
Aiza Keesey, Development Officer, Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Amazing ETC 2015 conference, a lot of buzz in the bazaar and it felt alive.”
Stacy Fiorentinos, President, Classic Escapes
“ETC is THE opportunity to network in the industry.”
Kathy Edersheim, Senior Director, Association of Yale Alumni
“This was the best conference I have ever attended. It not only helped me with the many travel questions I had, I found value to so many other things we are doing in Advancement. Plus, it was a ton of fun!”
Kimberly Schmelz, Director of Alumni Services, University of Wisconsin-Platteville
“This is THE place to engage with all the players in the educational travel community. The conference is full of learning, connecting, and having fun with colleagues.”
Kris Jameyson, Director, Cal Discoveries Travel, Cal Alumni Association, UC Berkeley
“ETC is a unique event with a mission, I have always considered it as the Mecca for tourism professionals who caters to non-profit or alumni organizations.”
Yasar Karadag, President, New Faces Travel, Istanbul, Turkey
“ETC 2014 was the best conference I’ve ever attended, and I’ve attended a lot. For me, there’s nothing better than combining education and travel . . . two of the things I am most passionate about.”
Mike Cooney, Cooney World Adventures
“A balanced emphasis & coverage of social media topics. More than enough Connect Meeting opportunities.”
Christine Luskin, Vice President, Sales, Alumni Holidays, AHI Travel
“Another inspiring ETC Travel conference. Dynamic speakers like Andrew McCarthy on travel as a transformational experience and Sree Sreenivasan the leading social media expert who was just named the Chief Digital officer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mara continues to ignite the intellectual needs of the Educational Travel Community 28 years after the original founding of ETC!”
Diana Lee Crew, Founder & Consultant, Real World Connections
“The networking opportunities are invaluable. Meeting with both tour operators and travel planners is a great way to jump start my year.”
Emilie LaRosa, Asst. Director, Alumni Education and Alumni Travel, University of Pennsylvania
“I am grateful for all that Japan did to sponsor the program, because of their many touch points, I have added Japan to our 2015 schedule- the first time in many, many years that it’s been included!”
Sara Schumann, Executive Assistant, Alumni Relations, Boston University
“It’s a great way to fully immerse yourself in the world of Alumni/Affinity travel.”
Jay Parker, Key Account Sales Manager, Avalon Waterways
“The keynote speakers were all excellent!!”
Lisa Valentine, Director, UA Alumni Travel, University of Arizona Alumni Association
“The highlight of this year’s conference was the volume of CONNECTS meeting we scheduled.”
Evie Task, Manager, Communications, Meyer and Associates
“The ability to reconnect with fellow travel planners informally to discuss challenges we face with our own programs and get tips and advice from one another.”
Daniel Stypa, Assistant Director, Association of Rice Alumni, Rice University
“Excellent networking opportunities; ability to reach new suppliers/vendors all in one place.”
Mary Beth Morris, Coordinator of Faculty-Led Study Abroad Programs, Duquesne University
“I am extremely impressed with the Conference, its excellent mosaic of attendance, and its flawless organization behind. It was a great honor to be part of it! Thank you very much for all the info prior, during and after the event! My most sincere congratulations on the Conference!
Klaus-Peter Fielsch, Product Manager, Metropolitan Touring Ecuador
“ETC is a very impressive conference and attended by such an interesting group of people. I so enjoyed the lively discussions and insightful questions that were part of our presentations.”
Laurie Sherwood, Partner, Walsworth Franklin Bevins & McCall, LLP
“The highlight of the conference is the opportunity to meet with many existing clients as well as very successful meetings with prospective clients.”
Tom Aschoff, Manager, Sales, Meyer and Associates
“A wonderful community – the sessions and events were excellent. Besides the small challenges of being a newcomer DMC from Greece to the conference, I thoroughly enjoyed it, found it very useful and plan to come back next year and continue building relationships.”
Celia Koukouli, Manager for Educational & Affinity Travel, SIVA TRAVEL SERVICES
“It was a pleasure seeing everyone, the camaraderie, fun memories and to top it all, having such successful conference in spite of the weather.”
Maria Gross, Consultant – Travel Sales and Marketing, ETC Emeritus Council
“I think this year’s ETC was among the VERY best!”
Carolyn Sheaff, Retired Director, BEAR TREKS Travel Program, Cal Alumni Association, ETC Emeritus Council
“It was a true joy for me, at every step–to enjoy my old hometown of Boston during that magical, snowbound silence; and to meet all of the great ETC community. I love their wisdom, their spirit, their sense of adventure and their cultured, rich, generous sensibility.”
Pico Iyer, Writer/Author, Travel Writer
“You should be very proud of the wonderful conference you and your team produce each and every year. It is always an environment for learning, networking and new ideas and I thank you for your commitment and service to the Educational Travel Community!”
LeeAnn Quirk, Director of Alumni Programs, University of Oklahoma Alumni Association
“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.
“This is the most content-laden conference in the travel industry.”
Jim Sano, Vice President for Travel, Tourism, and Conservation, World Wildlife Fund
“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
“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
“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
“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
“The ETC Conference was extremely well organized and executed, and one cannot help but be impressed with the professionalism and the seriousness of purpose with which the participants approached each session. You clearly have a strong and productive organization, for which I congratulate you.”
H. Laurent Boetsch (guest presenter), Professor of Romance Languages, Director, Center for International Education, Washington and Lee University
“I have attended the ETC eight times now, and ETC 2013 was the best one yet! I particularly like that the sponsors of the meals were given a good chance to showcase their programs. With the International Bazaar time more focused, generally there were representatives at every table. The key recommendations for this conference are the many contacts that are made for planning trips and the chance to compare programs and learn from colleagues at other institutions and experts in related fields.”
Amy Goerwitz, Director, Temple Travels, Temple University Alumni Association
“Face time with colleagues and potential travel partners is so valuable.”
Lea Ann Quirk, Director of Alumni Programs, University of Oklahoma Alumni Association
“This Conference is so important to me and has taught me so much. I have made great friends while attending ETC. They have become invaluable resources when I have a question.”
Shellie Andersen, Director of Alumni Travel and Student Programs, Iowa State University Alumni Association
“I really enjoyed ETC this year, but I have every year!! I very much enjoyed the Travel Planner sessions the first day.”
Lisa Valentine, Director, UA Alumni Travel, University of Arizona Alumni Association
“I thought this year’s programs at the ETC 2012 conference were great. I particularly value the sessions with Sree Sreenivasan, and hope that he continues to participate. He’s really the best! The buzz from other attendees who stayed for Sree’s session was very positive.” MaryBeth Mullen, Marketing Director, Smithsonian Journeys
“The ETC conference was great, and I learned so much more practical information than last year. And part of that may have been that I was new to Vassar last year and to this aspect of tour planning. I had previously built tours myself for the Garden Conservancy for ten years.”
Susan Quade, Associate Director of Alumnae/i Affairs, Vassar College
“ETC 2012 sessions were most helpful and, at the social events, I made more connections than I had at the other two ETCs I’ve attended (Baltimore and New Orleans). Whether you are new to the field or an old-timer, there is always something to gain, and what you gain is both necessary and timely. I felt as if I had made more connections with other travel planners, and this was likely due to the first travel planner day—which was a great aspect of the conference.”
Lisa Hill, Travel & Special Programs Manager, Santa Barbara Museum of Art
“I wanted to tell you what a fabulous conference you all organized yet again. I came away with so much from just the one day I was able to attend. I think ETC is one of the most valuable conferences offered.”
Elaine Liles, Associate Director of Alumni Programs, Rollins College Alumni Association
“I really enjoyed the ETC 2012 conference, which was my first. I went to many of the programs and enjoyed most of them immensely. The conference allowed us to think of new ways to market our programs, and we met with many new vendors with whom we now hope to do business.”
Ingrid Bortner, Adjunct Faculty, Office of Travel Studies, The Community College of Baltimore County
“As I travel home from Orlando, I cannot help but reflect on the ETC 2012 conference. The entire event was an enriching and fulfilling experience. This being my second year attending, I found it even more useful than last year. I am certain many people offer their thanks, so I want to add mine and let you know how much this conference and the entire ETC community help me to improve the travel program at Utah State University. The conference was filled with useful and dynamic presentations that spark new ideas and destinations to explore.”
Scott Olson, Director of Travel, Utah State University
“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 of Travel, Office of Alumnae Relations, Alumnae Association of Smith College
“At ETC I gain a broader sense of how affinity travel programs are faring in the marketplace.”
Karen Ledwin, General Manager, Smithsonian Journeys
“Excellent source of tour selection and management of information and best single resource for educational travel networking.”
Robert Fure, Director of Special Programs, Washington & Lee University
“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
“These conferences are the most educational and beneficial ones I have attended in the field of alumni relations. It is wonderful how the information crosses lines to be used in other areas, i.e. all the cutting edge information on marketing, branding etc. can be applied elsewhere in the Association.”
Susan Goodale, Director of Development, Student Affairs, UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association, and former Gaucho Getaways Coordinator.
“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
“Having attended the Educational Travel Conference for most of my 17 years as a travel planner, I can honestly say that the Philadelphia Zoo’s travel program has grown and continues to function because of the knowledge I’ve gained through the outstanding program the ETC offers each year. It is a wonderful way for me to network with fellow Natural History Museum, Aquarium, Conservation Organization, and Zoo (NACZ) planners, as we all share and learn from each other and become friends at the same time. The ETC is the only professional development conference where I can find everything I need in one place. I discover what destinations are “hot” and “what’s not.” I am able to discuss legal issues and risk management situations, find capable tour operators, and learn how to better market my products."
“My attendance at the ETC has been critical to the success of the Philadelphia Zoo’s travel program and also for AZAD’s (Association of Zoo and Aquarium Docents) for whom I plan several trips a year. I am credited with initiating the Zoo’s travel partnership program with other institutions, many of whom I have met at ETC, and for starting AZAD’s travel program. I couldn’t have accomplished any of this without attending the ETC. Thank you ETC for all that you have done, not only for me, but also for all the other like-minded colleagues in the world.”
Roberta DeVries, Travel Planner/Trips and Program Manager, Philadelphia Zoo, and AZAD Travel Planner
“Overall, the Conference was an excellent opportunity for us to connect with current clients as well as prospects. We were thrilled to see that every person who made a CONNECTS meeting appointment with us actually showed-that’s just unheard of at a conference!”
Evie Task, Communications Manager, Meyer and Associates
“To me ETC is a community of kindred minds, where we gather to share common ideas, address common challenges, and set common goals for success for all parties, enjoying the journey together on a win-win stage!”
Philip Mathews, Senior Associate, MIR Corporation
“I enjoyed ETC 2012 a lot. This was the best ETC for me in the past 20 years!”
Charlotte Xu, President, China Advocates
“Travel, especially the kind of mindful travel done by nonprofits, is all about people. For a quarter century now, the Educational Travel Conference has been at the forefront of the thoughtful business of educational travel.”
Dennis Pinto, Managing Director, Micato Safaris
“The Educational Travel Conference has been truly the ‘Superbowl conference’ of our industry. This annual affinity event has single handedly marked a time to regroup and reconnect with our colleagues and partners to brainstorm and strategize new marketing and programming ideas. It also has been a remarkable place to reinvigorate our passion and commitment to educational travel. We all come away from the ETC with a renewed sense of purpose, which is an extraordinary feat for any one conference!”
Karen Kuttner-Dimitry, Vice President of Affinity & Charter Sales, Lindblad Expeditions
“As goes the Real Estate mantra ‘location, location, location,’ to me the Educational Travel Conference has been and remains ‘community, community, community.’ A community of kindred minds, where we gather to share common ideas, address common challenges, and set common goals for success for all parties, enjoying the journey together on a win-win stage! Thanks to Mara for her vision and leadership!”
Philip Mathews, Senior Associate, MIR Corporation
“My first memories of the Educational Travel Conference are of people. Each year, old friends and new are highlights. Next is educational content, especially some of the really great and inspirational talks. Third is industry accomplishments—the most notable to me being the real partnerships that have evolved among the various segments of the educational travel pipeline thanks to the Conference. All in all, my life has been positively impacted both professionally and personally because of the ETC. For this I thank Mara for her vision and conviction, the many hundreds of volunteers who make the Conference so great, the sponsors who make the Conference possible, and, most of all, the attendees, without whom there would be no Conference.”
Joe Small, President, AHI TRAVEL
“ETC is an extraordinary professional development network. The fact that the group was founded over 25 years ago and has grown from a simple networking and sharing conference for some 30 nonprofit travel programs to the huge network it is today is an accomplishment worth noting. Today our world includes all aspects of travel from suppliers to ministry of tourism departments to risk managers to inbound operators and, of course, the nonprofit travel programs themselves. Each year, this conference provides basic information for newcomers, while challenging and encouraging other programs to look at new directions and to craft innovative educational experiences we might never have imagined before. We are not merely visiting countries, but we are helping to define unique worlds. The learning that occurs here also spills over into many other avenues of our personal lives and enriches us all.”
Diana Crew, Founder & Consultant, Real World Connections
“After a career working with the National Park Service, I decided to venture into another phase of my life. My close friend, Susan Delgado, who was the Expedition Manager for National Wildlife Federation, suggested I look into attending the Educational Travel Conference. My first attendance was in Washington, D.C., which helped me solidify my decision of developing an environmental education travel company—Environmental Adventure Company. A complete newbie, my eyes and mind were opened to the sheer volume of information available to a novice of education travel. I have no doubt my conference attendance and willingness to ask questions and listen did more for me than stacks of books written on the subject. That was many years, and many conferences, ago. Personally, the value of attending the ETC is beyond measure. I look forward to many more years of interaction with the ETC family.”
Michael Sanders, President/Founder, Environmental Adventure Company
“I’ve been very privileged to have been associated with the Educational Travel Conference almost from the very beginning, as one of the first foreign tour operators to attend the Conference along with just a handful of others who ventured in the early days to the Double Tree Hotel."
“After attending this Conference for the first time I began to share Mara’s vision of a global community of people who are passionate about promoting affinity and nonprofit educational travel. I have had the opportunity to see it grow and develop into what it is today—a large community spanning the globe of people working for something they passionately believe in. The yearly journey to the Conference has always been a place to hear inspirational and informative speakers and to share ideas with like-minded (for the most part) colleagues. I can only hope that the Conference continues to grow and develop in the future as it has in the past. Good work and congratulations on your first 25 years!” Nick Fritz, Managing Director, Protours, The Netherlands
“First of all I wanted to thank all of you for the excellent job you do in putting on these Educational Travel Conferences. They are a superb forum to discuss the various aspects of educational travel. As a business manager I am amazed at how much you are able to accomplish, considering you have four different sets of clients with four distinctive sets of objectives for attending. I can’t imagine the headaches you get trying to keep us pleased. Keep up the good work.” Jim Kackley, General Manager, Thomson Family Adventures
“The ETC is the only conference in the world for colleagues to share the cutting edge of educational travel in a friendly and collegial atmosphere. Those of us who have been attending for years look forward eagerly to learning about the issues concerning educational travel and about what everyone else is doing. There could not be a better forum to learn and to share innovative ideas about best practices and achieving best results in the field of educational travel. The ETC definitely is one of the most enriching professional development experiences I have had in the travel industry.
Maria M. Gross, Consultant, Travel Sales and Marketing
“It was a great experience and I am so glad I was finally able to attend. You do a wonderful job, the sessions I attended were worthwhile and I was finally able to meet some people with whom I’ve had a phone contact for many years. Thanks and I am looking forward to next year.”
Kathy Pratte, Vice President of Sales Administration, General Tours
“This Conference provides a neutral meeting ground for all members of the educational travel community whether they are planners, destinations, operators or suppliers. The opportunity is there to expand your client base as well as your knowledge, and there is no better assembly of like-minded individuals and organizations to be found. The Conference has been and continues to be the one place where we see an entire group of old friends and meet new ones. We credit it with contributing greatly to our growth and success in our niche travel market. Attendees always leave with inspiration and an abundance of knowledge gained from speakers as well as their colleagues. The most valuable asset, in my opinion, is the sharing and mentoring that transpires during the sessions. There’s notably far more camaraderie than competition present. The Conference helps expand our awareness of responsible tourism and of how we can be an asset to our environment as educated travelers rather than continuing its destruction.”
Linda Witt, Director of Client Relations/Educational Travel Community, USI Travel Insurance Services
“On the 25th anniversary, I am honored to have been part of the Educational Travel Conference and Group Travel Community since 1995. My 15-year journey with the Educational Travel Community has been rewarding and provided me with invaluable educational, business, and networking opportunities: first, during my time with the Finnish Tourist Board, and then with my own company dealing with travel to Scandinavian countries. Mara DelliPriscoli, ETC’s group leader during this journey, has always provided inspiration, encouragement, and new sources of learning experiences. I see the ETC moving along into the future, always strong and staying abreast of new developments.” Kerstin E. Nordin, Marketing North America, Iceland Travel
“The Educational Travel Community is a great organization that spans multiple borders: international, professional, and academic. It has brought me a wealth of information networks, and a sense of belonging to a much larger community. Ten years after being introduced to the ETC, and in a completely new phase of my career, I still find myself leaning on the networks and knowledge delivered over the years. The contacts have been invaluable to me and became building blocks to my present position. Through the ETC I have introduced a personal hero of mine to the Conference (Wade Davis), met some giants of the tourism world, and had conversations with some of the brightest and best our industry has to offer. Thanks ETC for 25 years of hard work, professionalism, and leadership!”
Peter Swain, Director of Visitor Services, Cypress Hills District,Government of Alberta, Tourism Parks and Recreation
“PromPeru has been privileged to actively participate in the Educational Travel Conference and to assemble with the top influential travel leaders in North America. Through this opportunity, our country has succeeded in hosting several participants for familiarization trips to view the exotic, experiential, and cultural tourism experiences that continue to provide a wealth of enlightening growth-occasions for visitors. We look forward to the continued growth of the ETC and the expansion of attendees. We are eager to continue our relationship with the ETC and deepen our connection with the educational travel market by ‘Opening Doors to Open Minds. The Educational Travel Conference is one of our most important events, not only to showcase our product but also to increase our knowledge and enrich ourselves.”
Elisabeth Hakim, UK & North American Markets Coordinator, PromPeru
“PromPeru ha tenido el privilegio de participar activamente en la Educational Travel Conference relacionándose con los líderes de opinión en viajes más influyentes en Norte América. A través de esta oportunidad, nuestro país ha podido recibir a diferentes participantes de viajes de familiarización para conocer lo exótico y vivir experiencias de turismo cultural y vivencial que continúan ofreciendo oportunidades para el enriquecimiento de los visitantes. Esperamos que la ETC continúe creciendo y expandiendo su número de participantes para que podamos incrementar el alcance de nuestra nutrida oferta para el turismo educacional al viajero norteamericano. Estamos deseosos de continuar nuestra relación con la ETC y ahondar nuestra relación con el mercado turismo educacional ‘Abriendo Puertas para Abrir las Mentes. La Educational Travel Conference es uno de los eventos más importantes para nosotros, no sólo para mostrar nuestro producto sino para incrementar.”
Elisabeth Hakim, UK & North American Markets Coordinator, PromPeru
“I value ETC and feel that it provides a great service for travel planners. The conference is always a highlight, and I continue to invite other museum travel planners to join me. The content at the conference is excellent and very beneficial.”
Betsy Stevenson, Retired Coordinator of Foundation Travel, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
“ETC bonds planners, tour operators, suppliers, and destinations into a common pursuit of excellence in educational travel. Over many years, the conference has given all of us both a platform for expressing our various points of view and a venue for discussion. It has been extremely valuable to me personally and for my organization to be part of such an informative, thought-provoking, and lively annual gathering.”
Amy Kotkin, Retired Director, Smithsonian Journeys
“The professional benefits I’ve received from this Conference have been extremely rewarding to my institution, travel program, and me with each friendship to be treasured always.’ (Written March 30, 1989.) Going forward, may this remain true!”
Carolyn Sheaff, Retired Director, Cal Alumni Association
“Congratulations on the 25th anniversary of the Educational Travel Conference! The Tucson Museum of Art derived many benefits from its ETC membership and association with other nonprofit organizations. Exchanging ideas has been one of the motivating reasons to return to the conference year after year. Mara’s inspiration in developing Travel Learning Connections has been an incalculable benefit to all of the members of the Educational Travel Community.”
Joyce Barkley, Retired Travel Director, Tucson Museum of Art
“I really appreciate the opportunity to attend sessions that related to the latest trends and information about travel.”
Carole Lynn, Retired Manager, Visitor Services and Travel Program, Mariners’ Museum
“It was another great Conference. I simply can’t quantify how useful it is each year, how much better it helps me do my job. It has paid for itself many times over. One piece of information I picked up some years back has saved my program more than $5,000 each year since; another contact has led to a most efficient way for my program to offer emergency medical evacuation insurance to all our participants. And, beyond all the concrete benefits, it’s a week I always look forward to. It’s so good to see everyone, to have so many people to talk shop with. An entire industry owes a tremendous portion of its success over the past 25 years to the Conference.”
Ralph Janis, Director Emeritus, Cornell’s Adult University
“There is a lot of opportunity to promote my company and plenty of time to talk about detailed things. The people who are attending these seminars are really serious.”
Gursed Bayasgalan, Former Manager, Mongolian Travel USA, Inc.
“ETC provides an opportunity to meet with the key players in this market segment.”
Lou Macaluso, Former Director-U.S. Leisure Sales, Canadian Tourism Commission
“Having attended the Educational Travel Conference since its inception over 24 years ago, it has been important to me in a number of ways: Participation in the ETC has given me a sense of belonging to a “profession.” It took a few years for family and friends to understand, much less appreciate, that I had a “serious” occupation as the director of the Stanford Alumni Association Travel/Study Program (which lasted 18 years incidentally!). The existence of the ETC gave credibility and respectability to my work as a professional travel planner in the nonprofit arena.
The quality of the ETC speakers, roundtables, cultural events, and social events enhanced my growth and development as a knowledgeable professional in the nonprofit travel industry.
The ETC provides a forum made up of hundreds of experienced travel professionals whose recognition of colleagues for outstanding work is rewarding and meaningful to the recipient.
The ETC has helped our profession develop and promote higher-standard business practices.
The ETC has helped promote and reward sustainable and responsible tourism.
The ETC has inspired educational travel to new and unusual destinations.
Once a year the ETC provides the opportunity to meet industry colleagues under a welcoming, stimulating, and dynamic tent. The Conference enables face-to-face communication with a splendid variety of intelligent and highly motivated people who have a common cause.
The Conference and its staff and participants have meant much to me!“
Peter Voll (1943-2012)
Peter Voll Associates (PVA), Tourism Development & Marketing
“The maturation and evolution of ETC has been stunning. This is not true of a lot of conferences and communities. We care about making each other successful – we care about the community, our travelers and our mission. And that is what makes this community and conference unique. That’s why people like coming and enjoy the networking. It feels good but it is also productive.”
Steve Lembke, VP Institutional Advancement, Road Scholar
“In some ways it’s one-stop shopping. Everything you need is here at the conference. It provides the opportunity to meet with several new possible travel operators and destinations, as well as time to meet with existing travel partners. Plus, it offers the professional development aspect that is tailored especially for this audience. ”
Clark Oldroyd, Senior Program Manager, Alumni Travel, University of Colorado Boulder Alumni Association
“A true learning experience….. ETC is the FAM trip for travel planners!!!” Laraine Hlatky, Associate Director, External Relations, University of Pittsburg Alumni Association
“The ETC Executive Forum is a great opportunity to network and learn from trusted colleagues. It’s an efficient way to understand trends in the travel industry and speak openly about challenges and opportunities in the industry.”
Len Contardo, Vice President of Alumni Outreach, Georgia Tech Alumni Association
“I found ETC extremely informative …. a comprehensive agenda, excellent speakers and relevant content.”
Cheryl Mell, Sr. VP Global Field Experiences/Conservation Ambassador, John G. Shedd Aquarium
“Thank you for all of the ETC Jumpstart materials and webinars. I had a GREAT meeting with a potential tour operator because of the new-found knowledge I have for the questions to ask from going through the manual and watching the webinars- in particular the marketing and nuts and bolts webinars.”
Sara Schumann, Executive Assistant, Alumni Relations, Boston University Development & Alumni Relations
“The opportunities to meet and network with other planners is key to the ETC event. It was wonderful to meet others who plan tours as I do. We had opportunities to discuss what is working, how to reach more travelers, etc. Hearing from guest speakers was a highlight. Each offered his or her perspective on different aspects affecting our industry, and their insight was very relevant to what we do.”
Susan E. Bowe, Executive Assistant/Travel Program Manager, The William & Mary Alumni Association