SPOKANE, Wash., June 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- People to People Ambassador Programs, the world leader in global educational travel experiences, officially announced the kick off of its 2011 travel season today with a focus on safety for the tens of thousands of students scheduled to travel this summer. With programs in all seven continents around the world, students in grades five through 12 are setting out to places like the Great Wall of China, a Celtic village in Ireland, the coast of Antarctica, and to destinations in 40 other countries.
More than half a million people across the globe have traveled with People to People Ambassador Programs since the 1960's. To help parents stay connected to their teens and ensure young people's safety, the program is utilizing the latest technology by continuing its two-year partnership with Cellhire, an international communications company that specializes in GPS technology and satellite phones.
"As we launch this new season, we know that nothing is more important than the safety of our travelers," said People to People President Peg Thomas. "We have the tools and practices in place to ensure our travelers have fun and stay safe this summer."
This year, People to People Ambassador Programs and Cellhire are offering enhanced Vismo technology, allowing parents, group leaders and teachers to stay in contact around the clock via a mobile phone or BlackBerry devices. Vismo allows parents to track students using GPS or cell tower triangulation and stay in touch across time zones via the Vismo website.
Demand for Vismo enabled phones has tripled over 2010 purchase rates. New Vismo features provide parents an online view of their student's call record, SMS messages and the battery level. Students traveling with the phone also have access to a panic button that alerts a 24-hour online tracking system with exact location, phone number and a 20 second audio recording should an emergency situation arise. This assures parents that no matter where their student decides to travel this summer, they will have a direct line of contact around the clock.
Six teens traveling on People to People Ambassador Programs this summer won technology scholarships from Cellhire to use the phones and blog about their experiences on Techno-Teen.com. More than 1,600 teens applied for the $1,000 scholarship by showing how technology influences their lives at home and abroad.
Alexius Semone Thomas, a seventh grader from Blue Springs, Missouri received one of the scholarships and said, "This phone will allow me to take my parents and friends with me on the trip every day."
"We are proud to be partnering with People to People to keep students safe as they explore new cultures," said John Henry, Vice President of Operations for Cellhire.
People to People Ambassador Programs takes pride in being the first to implement such industry-leading safety initiatives including:
- 24-hour presence in its program office during all travel periods, with an established incident response teams on call 365 days a year
- Program leaders supported by an international team and that are CPR-certified
- State of the art emergency command center in corporate headquarters
- The only company of its kind to employ a senior director of health and safety
- Background checks for all teachers and chaperones
- Nutritionist support for meals
- Travel provider issued credit card for every group
About People to People Ambassador Programs
People to People Ambassador Programs is the world's most recognized educational travel provider. Since the 1960s, more than 500,000 people from around the world have traveled with People to People Ambassador Programs to help further global understanding through cross-cultural exchange. Offering unmatched safety measures and unparalleled access to foreign cultures and countries, People to People Ambassador Programs promotes personal success in a globalized world and fosters international friendships for both students and professional adults.
People to People Ambassador Programs is the exclusive educational travel provider of People to People International (PTPI), a nonprofit organization founded in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote peace through understanding worldwide. Together, PTPI and People to People Ambassador Programs are united in a mission to bridge cultural and political borders through education and exchange. For more information, please visit www.peopletopeople.com.
About Ambassadors Group
Ambassadors Group Inc. (NASDAQ: EPAX) is a socially conscious, education company headquartered in Spokane, Wash. Ambassadors Group is the parent company of Ambassador Programs Inc. (which administrates People to People Ambassador Programs), World Adventures Unlimited, and BookRags, an educational research website. The company also oversees the Washington School of World Studies, an accredited travel study school. Additional information about Ambassadors Group and its subsidiaries is available at www.ambassadorsgroup.com.
SOURCE People to People Ambassador Programs