The Association of Corporate Travel Executives revealed some details of its ambitious "Around the World in 80 Hours" program last month during an event in Atlanta, but due to unforeseen challenges, the program "may not have the university accreditation in time for the autumn semester" as ACTE previously planned.
ACTE executive director Ron DiLeo admitted that gaining approval for accreditation through one university to sponsor the whole 10-week long program--scheduled to begin September 2, 2011--was taking longer than expected and may not happen on schedule.
"ACTE is currently in discussions with several globally recognized universities regarding accreditation for the Around the World in 80 Hours program," according to DiLeo. DiLeo added that he is hopeful the following semester would gain university accreditation. For first semester students, in order to be awarded academic credit, the student must appeal to the university that they are currently enrolled in for internship credit. "All participants earn ACTE Global Travel Expectative Certification upon completion of the program," according to ACTE.
Accreditation is just a matter of time, said ACTE director of global education Amber Kelleher. "There's never been any question about whether or not we would achieve accreditation."
The program is open to travel managers, sales managers or account managers. However, its intent is to attract young college students to the business travel industry by allowing them to moonlight as a business traveler globetrotting for a semester. By traveling from country to country speaking with professionals in the business travel community on issues related to each market, ACTE is hopeful these students will seek careers in the corporate travel arena.
"Our need to attract new talent to the industry is not a disparaging comment on our aging talent in the industry, it's just a factual point that there are more people leaving this industry than coming in. I don't think we are attracting enough great leaders to take this business travel industry to its next level," said DiLeo.
DiLeo said the program does not have an airline sponsor, but Accor is its hotel sponsor and the semester is expected to cost roughly $26,000. The program members will travel to Delhi, Doha, Frankfurt, London, Moscow, New York, Montreal, Mexico, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.
"Each destination will include a combination of economic and industry briefings, classroom instruction, site visits to key suppliers of business travel products and services, networking with industry VIPs, professional development opportunities, and cultural activities," according to ACTE.