The Extreme Traveler International Congress (ETIC) started as a meeting of eleven Most Traveled People (MTP) club members in October 2008 in Germany. Host Kolja Spöri (Germany) also invited MTP-founder Charles Veley (USA) and Nr. 3-ranked MTP-member Jorge Sanchez (Spain) to attend the get-together at Munich's Ananda Business Club. The successful evening resulted in ongoing exchange and friendship between some of the participants.
In the meantime, The Best Travelled (TBT) was founded by Harry Mitsidis (Greece) as the third international country collectors club, complementing the Travelers Century Club (TCC) and MTP as tools for systematic travel. This primarily internet-based traveler scene became a virtual meeting point for the "travel addicted anonymous" and similar "dromomaniacs" around the world. It seemed a logical next step for Kolja Spöri to provide a physical contact point for those "extreme travelers" who had gained interest in each other through their internet clubs.
A befitting venue was identified in Grozny, Chechnya: distant, difficult to reach and dangerous, or so it seemed. At least that was the perception that lured ETIC guests to attend, and motivated the local ETIC hosts to change precisely such image. 25 members of TCC, MTP and TBT found their way to the Grozny City Hotel in October 2014. They experienced a weekend full of positive surprises about Chechnya, with extraordinary Chechen hositality and generosity, meeting like-minded traveler friends from all over the world, and visiting new country points in the vicinity. The world's Nr. 1 (Don Parrish, MTP), Nr. 2 (Charles Veley, MTP) and Nr. 3 (Kari-Matti Valtari, TBT) received a special greeting by the Chechen minister of tourism. It was a win-win-situation for both the ETIC guests and the host country.
With the introduction of Gaza as a venue for ETIC 2015, this congress may become an annual institution. The format is by invitation only. Participants of the 2008 and 2014 events enjoy "founders' rights" to invite new participants to future events, who in turn get access to the ETIC site and become members of the small and exclusive scene of the Extreme Travelers International Congress.
ETIC-founder Kolja Spöri believes that travel in itself is a moral act that leads to better understanding of values that all human beings share, independent of cultural differences, political regimes, or media propaganda. The motto of ETIC is "travel promotes universal ethics".