THE walk tops the list of priorities for American Express International's (AmEx) senior vice-president and general manager, Ian Marsh. The executive just happens to be the chairman of the Tourism and Travel Education Programme (TTEP). TTEP, one of three beneficiaries of this year's walk, aims to give Form Four and Five students an idea of job opportunities in the tourism sector. More than 2,600 students at 41 secondary schools undertake the two-year academic course, which is also offered in England, Mexico, South Africa, Hungary, Russia and Brazil. 'While the course is slightly different in each country, members of business sectors ensure the curriculum is up-to-date and applicable,' Mr Marsh said. 'The course emphasises computer and communication skills and is practical with many business leaders providing work experience for students. 'Throughout the world, the course is taught as an academic subject and the skills are important to all branches of the travel and tourism industry.' AmEx management in Hong Kong asked the American Express Foundation in New York to help design a TTEP course for the territory in 1989. The TTEP course would benefit AmEx business in Asia, where tourism was growing faster than in any other region in the world, he said. AmEx granted initial funding and technical assistance to improve the travel and tourism sectors in Hong Kong and Asia, where one in nine were employed in the industry. 'The TTEP course was an ideal project for AmEx, which was hoping to build its reputation as a local corporate citizen and work with industry partners. 'Hong Kong is fortunate to have an excellent university-level travel and tourism faculty at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, which wrote the curriculum. 'Involving the polytechnic also meant continuity between our secondary school programme and the university level travel and tourism courses.' Business leaders were asked for suggestions on curriculum content and to take ownership of the TTEP course to ensure its continuance in Hong Kong. Following the course's progress in Britain and the US, it was decided to establish a non-profit entity, later called Travel and Tourism Education Programme. The TTEP was responsible for liaising with the Education Department, schools, sponsors and overseeing Polytechnic University development of the curriculum.