GTTP is a multi-country educational program to introduce high school learners to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism

Overview and History


The GTTP is a USA–based multi-country educational program that introduces Tourism learners to career opportunities in Travel & Tourism. To date, more than a million and a half students in twelve countries have participated in the GTTP. School systems provide teachers and classrooms; local and international companies provide financial and in-kind support. Some 2 900 local businesses share their expertise with teachers and students.

The GTTP also offers teacher-training courses and learner assessment methodologies to teachers in Hungary, Jamaica, Russia, Kenya, and South Africa. These are in addition to regular teacher training provided by each country’s Department of Basic Education.

The GTTP member countries work together in the sharing ideas and experiences that can improve their own operations. The GTTP member countries link students in one country to students in another country. GTTP member country schools can also “twin” with each other, which is an opportunity for students in two countries to learn more about each other.

GTTP member countries involve learners in a myriad of local and national activities. The GTTP sponsors three global competitions.

GTTP Research Competition & Award: Each year GTTP hosts an International Student/Teacher Conference in Europe which is attended by learners and their teachers from GTTP member countries. Two learners and one teacher from the winning school in each country attend the conference in Europe in November each year. The conference is sponsored by the GTTP and its Global Partners.

Student Travel Writing Competition: The essay competition reinforces the GTTP’s emphasis on encouraging research and communications skills. Students compete for national cash prizes. The competition is sponsored by the GTTP’s Global partners.

Student Photo Competition: Students take photos that show an enticing place or situation in their own country that would make a visitor want to come see for themselves. There are cash prizes for national and international winners. The competition is sponsored by the GTTP’s Global partners.

Leading international companies support the GTTP’s global activities and include:

Amadeus, American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Delta Airlines, dnata,  Enterprise Holdings, Eurostar,  Hertz, HRG, KDS, Starwood and  Travelport.  To read more about our partners, click here.

Representatives from these companies form the International Advisory Board.


The GTTP is a charity that educates secondary school students about careers in Travel & Tourism, the world’s fastest growing industry, at a time when they are making career and further-education decisions. Students learn about the global industry, working in a service economy, and the economic and social impact of the industry in their counties. Along with the students, teachers and parents develop an appreciation for sustainable tourism and its benefits.


The program began in 1986 in the UK, funded by the American Express Foundation. At that time there was no education in secondary schools about Travel & Tourism. Amex funded the development of the first curriculum, paid for teacher training, and for a small staff to introduce the subject to schools and industry. The first textbook was very successful and Travel & Tourism as a subject began to be accepted in schools. The Foundation went on to fund curriculum development, training and operations in Canada, Hong Kong, Ireland, Hungary, Brazil, and Mexico — and by 1995 the subject was well accepted in many countries.  However it was becoming too big for one company to support. The Foundation trustees reviewed the program, and in 1996 asked Dr. Nancy Needham to set up a non-profit and to take over the separate programs. (The non-profit, Global Initiatives, Inc., is a 501 (c) (3) organization to which US companies can donate funds and receive a tax deduction).

Charles Petruccelli, President of American Express Global Travel Services (now retired), began to ask his peers in other companies to support the program.  These companies became the GTTP’s “Global Partners.”  The independent national programs joined together to form a collaborative group, the Global Travel & Tourism Partnership (GTTP), which is now an industry-supported global program. Funds are allocated by the Global Partner Advisory Board, and dispersed through Global Initiatives, which has the responsibility for financial and managerial oversight.

Global Partner Advisory Board member companies: Amadeus, American Express, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Delta Airlines, dnata,  Enterprise Holdings, Eurostar,  Hertz, HRG, KDS, Starwood and  Travelport.


The GTTP-SA is available to more than 400 000 Tourism grade 10 to 12 learners in over 2 800 high schools across South Africa.
More than 4 000 teachers teach  and more than 200 Curriculum Specialists manage the subject.

In November 2018,  130 324  grade 12 learners wrote the Tourism CAPS National Senior Certificate examination.

The graph below shows the number of GRADE 12 learners from 2011 to 2018


Source:  National Department of Basic Education – Pretoria – February 2019]

The Team



Elsabé Engelbrecht, former Provincial Subject Coordinator for Tourism Education with the Northern Cape Province Department of Education in South Africa,  has more than thirty years of experience as a teacher and extensive experience as a Tourism education manager. As a member of the National Training Team (NTT) for the South African National Department of Basic Education, she has been involved in the training of Tourism teachers and subject advisors and the development of Tourism teacher training material. In 2010 she was appointed writer of the amended national curriculum for Tourism (CAPS) and is currently  Chief Examiner for the exit level examinations (grade 12) in Tourism. Elsabe has also been a member of the Umalusi research team from 2011 -2014 which investigated the quality of the curricula underpinning Tourism qualifications, its assessment and search for international examples of good practice to strengthen the South African qualifications.

She attended two GTTP Tourism Student & Teacher Conferences  in 2000 and 2002 in Hungary and France respectively and represented South Africa at  the GTTP Directors’ meetings in France (2013 and 2015), the USA (2014), Germany (2016), Zanzibar (2017) and Hong Kong in 2018.

In 2005, Elsabe was one of 10 Tourism teachers in South Africa to receive the prestigious “American Express Fellows Award”, awarded by the American Express Foundation in New York, for excellence in Tourism Education. She has published three Tourism textbooks for South African schools and presented a Tourism student support program on national television (SABC 1) in South Africa.

Elsabé organised the inaugural National Tourism Education Conference which was held in June 2019 in Kimberley where 300 Tourism teachers were trained by subject specialists and private sector partners. She is also the author of the South African Tourism Dictio-pedia (published in June 2019), a first of its kind dictionary for anyone and everyone working in the tourism industry in South Africa.

The Advisory Board

GTTP-SA is advised and governed by a board of high level representatives from government and the private sector.

This Advisory Board supports the GTT-SA in two annual meetings where the members advise the programme on strategy, projects, resources, fundraising and educational support.

The 2019 Advisory Board

Ms Darryn von Maltitz – Project manager at the Swiss -South African Co-operation Initiative  (SSACI) and former GTTP  Director  for South Africa (Chairperson)
Ms Elsabé Engelbrecht – Provincial Subject Coordinator for Tourism at Northern Cape Department of Education ( National Director)
Ms Robyn Christie – Owner / CEO Robyn Christie … just saying
Lee-Anne Bac –  Director in Advisory Services at BDO.
Ms Magda van Pletzen – Chief Education Specialist: Services subjects at the Department of Basic Education
Mr Lulamile Stuurman – Deputy Director: Tourism HRD Policy & Planning (Sector Focus) at National Department of Tourism
Prof Elmarie Slabbert – Professor and Programme Leader for Tourism Management at North-West University

The  Advisory Board  members are profiled below:

Director in Advisory Services at BDO

After gaining work experience in the hospitality and food & beverage sectors, Lee-Anne joined Grant Thornton in 1997 as a Senior Consultant and was appointed as a Director of Grant Thornton in 1999. Grant Thornton Johannesburg merged with BDO South Africa in December 2018.  Lee-Anne is responsible for BDO’s Strategy and Development Advisory division which specialises in providing advisory services to the tourism, hospitality, leisure, property and related industry sectors, in both the private and public sector.

Project manager at the Swiss-South African Co-operation Initiative (SSACI) and former GTTP- SA Director.

Darryn von Maltitz is the former GTTP programme director and the former programme manager of the NBI (National Business Initiative) where she project managed the tourism skills audit on behalf of DEAT and THETA. Darryn is currently employed as a project manager at SSACI where she is managing a college improvement project and the dual system artisan project. Academic qualifications include an Honours degree, the Management Advancement Programme and a post graduate diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation.

Professor: North-West University

Prof Elmarie Slabbert is a professor and programme leader for Tourism Management at North-West University (Potchefstroom Campus). She specialises in the social impact of tourism, tourism marketing, communication, event management and tourism management. Prof Slabbert is a board member of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists, vice-chairman of Tourism Educators of South Africa and serves as referee for the National Research Foundation (NRF) and various accredited journals. She also serves on the Education Committee as well as the Research Committee of the Faculty of Economic and Business Sciences. She received an Excellence in Teaching Award in 2003 and 2007. After the completion of her PhD she focused on acquiring research funds awarded to her by the National Research Foundation for analysing the social impacts of events in South Africa (2007-2011). After this she received funding from the National Research Foundation to continue her research on the tangible and intangible benefits of tourism to communities (2012-2014). She has authored and co-authored 15 accredited articles and 6 accredited conference proceedings. Since 2005 25 Masters students and 8 Doctorate students completed their studies with success under her guidance. At international level she has presented 26 papers at international conferences. Prof Slabbert has been involved in training tourism educators since 2004 for Wits Business School as well as North West, Western Cape and Gauteng Education Authorities. She has also served on the screening panel for Tourism Textbooks for the Department of Basic Education.


Deputy Director: Tourism HRD Policy & Planning (Sector Focus) at National Department of Tourism

Lulamile is a Human Resource Management Specialist with a strong focus on Human Resource Development and Labour / Employee Relations as areas of his passion. His dissertation for his Master of Management in Public & Development Management Degree (MM – P&DM) at University of Witwatersrand focused on performance management which made him an insightful resource in this field. Other general areas of focus are strategic planning, project management and performance orientation.

He is an outcomes focused business leader with  strong operations experience and expertise accumulated over a period of 18 years in senior positions at national institutions across the nation.

With a wealth of international traveling experience which straddles across 5 countries in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, China,  Japan and Indonesia in Asia, 5 in Europe namely Ireland, France, Spain, Italy and Greece. Lulamile is  a credible and beneficial agent of business and social transformation.

Owner and CEO at Robyn Christie… just saying.

Robyn, former country Manager of Travelport South Africa , manages her own company which provides consultancy services travel providers, travel agencies, corporations and developers to search, share, buy and sell travel.

Robyn acquired a wealth of knowledge, expertise and experience when she was a former CEO of ASATA for 5 years and whilst working in marketing and sales for Diners Club International for 8 years.


Magda van Pletzen

Chief Education Specialist: Services subjects at the Department of Basic Education

As Chief Education Specialist, Ms van Pletzen is responsible for curriculum implementation and management in the three services subjects: Tourism, Consumer Studies and Hospitality Studies, a position she has occupied since January 2017.  Her experience in the services field was developed over a number of years through the various positions she has held, including the senior education specialist for the Free State Department of Education.