History & Founding Philosophy

ACTE was founded in 1988, through the vision of corporate travel suppliers and buyers seeking to establish equitable representation within the travel management profession. The day’s sole national trade association within the United States chose to differentiate between members, denying suppliers the right to vote or hold certain levels of office. Despite this blatant injustice, these same supplier members were often expected to sponsor educational programs, trade shows, and legislative undertakings, placing an unfair financial burden upon them, and leading to a further discrepancy and rift between members.

The ACTE founders foresaw a global organization in which corporate travel buyers and suppliers were treated equally and could work together in a mutual partnership, developing a unique and valuable educational resource for business travel professionals. Joined by progressive senior-level travel executives, their model called for an international network, emphasizing smaller, more numerous educational forums held not only in the United States, but also throughout the world.

Free of a professional caste system, ACTE immediately attracted some of the most powerful names in business travel management. As a result, the young organization was able to systematically expand the scope and breadth of its educational agenda

With offices in Africa, Asia, Canada, Europe, Middle East and the United States, in addition to the professional staff residing at the international headquarters just outside of Washington, DC, ACTE is able to provide support to its members in over 100 countries worldwide. ACTE has grown to host or co-host more than 70 events and reach more than 30,000 executives each year.

While ACTE also works with ministries and government agencies throughout the six populated continents and analyzes legislative developments concerning the corporate travel industry such as safety, security, privacy, and customer service, it declines political activism or political action committee and special interest fundraising. As an international organization, ACTE cannot raise money for legislative efforts that give an unfair, inequitable advantage to one nation over another, nor can it support legislation in potential conflict with other member-supported efforts. It is ACTE’s duty and responsibility to advocate on behalf of all its members, to educate executives on the issues, to foster an open dialogue, and to encourage fair and balanced solutions.

Global in every sense of the word, ACTE’s international board (with more than 50 percent of its members from outside the United States) recommends an integrated approach to national culture, corporate culture, and common objectives in proposing uniform corporate travel standards. The association does not export one country’s interpretation of travel management policies and systems as the "best practice" for the industry worldwide. Rather, ACTE relies on the experience and expertise of its members, leaders, and staff within each region and nation to develop the most relevant and applicable programs and events.

Thirty years after its founding, ACTE remains the primary resource for global corporate travel. Its vision and action has carried the industry through economic collapse, terrorism, pandemics, and other natural and manmade upheaval. The ACTE model has become the industry standard, its vision and action driving the industry through an age of uncertainty.