The Institute of Travel & Tourism (ITT) will announce details of the first online degree for the travel industry at its annual overseas conference in June.

The event, which will be held in Abu Dhabi, will be told the BA and MA courses will be available through an ITT-sponsored scheme affiliated to various UK universities.

The courses have been designed for anyone working in travel but specifically for employees who have some industry qualifications but who came into travel having not gone to university.

Steven Freudmann, ITT chairman and chief executive, said: “This will offer people the chance to get a degree without having to take two or three years off.”

The ITT has been forging closer relations with higher education establishments through its education committee led by board member Claire Steiner.

The ITT plans to broaden its reach to other academic areas relevant to travel like marketing, finance, and hospitality.

Freudmann said focus groups run by the ITT in conjunction with the industry and academics had highlighted graduates’ enthusiasm for 
the sector.

“Our industry is still seen as a desirable and sexy industry, which is something we should never lose,” Freudmann said.

John McEwan, outgoing chairman of Abta and chief executive of Advantage, told Travel Weekly that he would also like to see the industry forge a higher profile among graduates.