The NCETP was created from a growing need among the ACT tourism industry for a collaborative marketing campaign aimed specifically at the schools market. In November 1997, a diverse group of stakeholders attended a Search Conference to develop a strategy to attract more visitors to the National Capital by Australian primary and secondary schools students.

Following this, a research report was commissioned by the National Capital Attractions Association (NCAA) to analyse the ACT schools market and wider excursion market. Many of the findings were used as a basis for the initial marketing initiatives of the NCETP.
Based on this research the National Capital Authority with the support of the NCAA approached the ACT Centenary of Federation Committee and subsequently the National Capital Educational Tourism Project (NCETP) was created and commenced operation on 6 December 1999.