Graduates: Their friends call them Tour Directors and Tour Guides. Their hiring companies call them their "Best Assets".
Look at what our graduates are saying and doing. Here are hundreds of reasons to choose IGA and there are thousands more. In the last three years, students from over 40 countries and 6 continents have attended certification programs with IGA.
Last updated: 22 May 2013
Cheryl Sennett, "I am just beginning my 6th season in Alaska and my 2nd season with Premier Alaska Tours. Thanks to you, I landed a fall tour on the East Coast with Collette Vacations last year. I hope to do the same next year. I previously worked with Tourco leading a New England Tour. Being an IGA grad continues to pay off for me. I love being paid to travel!"
Charlie Robbins, "Starting in September I'll begin working for Singles Travel Company as a Social Host, and my first trip is to Bali, and I may lead a trip or two to Europe for STC later in the Fall. I am finally living my dream of being paid to travel and I want to thank you for making that possible!"
Liz Oliver was just hired by Joshua Expeditions.
Cindy Spohr, "So here is some exciting news! I was invited to an "extended" training/interview for ATI, Los Angeles! I had actually sent them my resume back in February and visited ATI offices in March. Turned out that the visit was a 1st "interview." Well, they called me last Monday and I will be on their "over the road" training June 1-June 5.
Theresa Schulte, "Since taking your classes, I have been an escort with groups going to New England, a Panama Canal Cruise, Ireland, a Danube River Cruise, a tour of SE USA starting next week, and will be leading a tour to Italy in the fall. Thank you! It has been fun and interesting experiencing the different guides along the way - from the Tour Managers to the city step-on guides. I am learning something every trip!"
Elizabeth Smith earned her certifications as both a Tour Director and Tour Guide in 2012 and she writes "I have a new job! This May through September I will be leading tours of Alaska on buses as a Tour Director for Premier Alaska Tours. If I can compare my life to a TV show, I am going from the Love Boat to Northern Exposure.
Caroline Nielsen, "After your program in August, I led my first solo tour to India, Nepal, and Tibet. It went very well and I felt more assured and confident because of the IGA program. I did have a few "moments" that tested my abilities, but you taught us to remain calm under pressure and everything was successful. Since then, I have been asked to do 3 more expeditions in 2013 (Bali, Indonesia; Peru and the Inca Trail; and South Africa) and I am looking forward to them. I am confident in expressing that my Certification from IGA has set me apart from other group leaders and is why I am receiving these wonderful opportunities."
Erin Egresitz, "I just wanted to let you know that I got my first tour. It is a tour of the Hudson Valley. I am super excited to start all of this and grateful for your help!
Mark McGuire and Kyle Rose, founders of Deaf Travel International and IGA graduates: "We are thrilled to inform you that our first group tour to Costa Rica was a success, largely due to your certification course. We certainly look forward to more tours in the future. We also plan to bring some of our associates to your course in the future to acquire the Tour Director Certification so we can expand our company."
Mary Jane Ulrich, "My training at IGA in Denver was a positive change in my life. I am a step-on Tour Guide in my resort area on Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. I have been working tours for 4 years, sharing my passino for living in the unique northern area of four seasons inthe Great Lakes state. I love the groups that I have shared this area with, many are tours that are on their way to visit Mackinac Island. Working the tours adds a dimension to my life that is just fantastic. I love getting on the motor coaches and showing the guests my area of the beautiful and great State of Michigan! I would never have done this without the encouragement and training from the International Guide Academy!"
Gwenn Goo-Yates, "Thanks to IGA's reputation of outstanding training and education, I am looking forward to continued success as a Tour Manager, and am well on my way to enjoying a schedule that keeps me "on the road" throughout the year! Since graduation, I'm now on the roster of multiple operators! I work for some educational/student group companies, such as Smithsonian Student Travel, Explorica, and Bob Rogers Travel. At the same time, I have also managed to balance out my calendar with operators who run adult tours, such as a regional operator and (THANK YOU, IGA!) now, Grand Circle Travel! Like some of your other graduates, I recently went through their interviewing process and was offered training in March and tours later in the Summer.
So, along with leading tours to the Presidential Inauguration this year, I'll be in traveling throughout the Eastern Seaboard, Chicago, and regionally here in the Midwest (MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, KY, MS)! And this year, I get to add Maine, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to my list. Life is good! The job is hard, the hours are long, and the rewards are great with wonderful experiences and fabulous friendships. Again, thank you, IGA!"
Mike Lince: "After graduating from IGA in November 2012, I went through Grand Circle Travel's rigorous screening process, and I am pleased to say I was offered a tour director position on their Northwest National Parks/Canadian Rockies tour. They asked me to join their 17 day motorcoach training tour utilizing the identical route and the identical hotels they use on the summer tours. The training starts April 15, and I was asked to lead three tours this coming season, which I agreed to do. The position with Grand Circle is the only position I applied for. I know Frank and Daniel would say it was all about me. However, I credit the quality training I received through IGA and their credibility and reputation in the tourism industry for my success in the application process."
Kate Engel: "I started applying for Tour Manager jobs right away using the IGA Hiring List provided only to their graduates. It took a long time to research each company to see if it was right for me. I got a response from Grand Circle Travel for a specific tour: America;s Majestic National Parks...right up my alley here in the West USA! First, I had to complete a long questionaire (some difficult questions-some right from the IGA class). Then I was accepted for a 15-20 min phone interview, where the suggestions from Connie Dineen (IGA Instructor) helped immensely. Thanks IGA for all the training and the great advice and support after graduation!!"
Melani Roewe: "I am a 2009 graduate of the International Guide Academy, Inc. Since graduating from IGA, I have successfully escorted and directed tours to Israel, Jordan, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia, Bosnia, Mexico, Branson, MO and Eureka Springs, AR. In March of 2013, I escorted and conducted a Catholic choir on a performance tour of Italy."
Jacqui Rothman, “Ten years after graduation, I am still actively hopping on and off motor coaches, working for muurltiple student travel companies. I am delighted to be doing both outward bound trips from the greater Chicago area and inbound ones which allow me to show off my home base city. Depending on the organizing company, I also get to work with groups of varied ages, basically from 4th graders through traveling adults. I really live up to your motto of "being paid to travel".
Kent Taylor: "2012 was another great year for me. I managed 17 tours. The highlight was a polar bear expedition to the Canadian Arctic where my group and I studied and photographed 23 polar bears! It truly was a life-changing experience. I also had multiple tours to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and Glacier; Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce; the Canadian Rockies, California, Eastern Canada, New England and more!
2013 is booking nicely also. I begin in March managing a month-long private tour of the American Southwest with a European film crew shooting a documentary on our national parks and wildlife refuges. This will be my third trip with them. I will also take several groups to the 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg as well as manage several more polar bear trips. See you down the road."
Sydney Avery: "I want you to know that I applied for the Grand Circle Travel position you told us about in October. They have a rigorous selection process. I'm happy to say I"ll be in training March of 2013. Touring will begin in May thru September for the North American Region. It takes in Boston MA, Portland Maine and Nova Scotia. Even though I had not traveled the east coast on tours, I simply told the truth and gave information about the recent IGA New England Destination Awareness training I received from you. This is my thanks to you and the other instructors for putting me on this road. I am truly grateful."
Ignacio Perez: "I wanted to let you know that I have just gotten hired by International Expeditions to lead the People-to-People tours into Cuba. I thank you for the referral that led to my getting this position and thanks for the exceptional training, which was the reason I was hired."
Anna Boulanger: "I decided I was not going to argue with success and so I did exactly what you suggested we do to obtain employment. After having my resume and cover letter reviewed by you I sent out 5 covers and resumes/week for 6 weeks and did the follow-up phone calls as you advised. It was exhausting since each touring company had to be studied and each resume and cover had to be "individual". But..... it worked Daniel! I leave for Mesa, AR this Friday to work for a touring company there for the months of Nov, Dec.Jan. and Feb. Then, I am moving down to Georgia to work for a company there for the months of March, April,May and possibly June. All of the companies I will be working for are on your list that you gave us. By the way, the two companies I will be working for are very excited about my CITM certification from IGA and I am sure it played a big part in my getting work with them."
: "I want to thank everyone at IGA for how you have changed my life. After graduating the Tour Director course in Cuernavaca, Mexico this past winter I was offered not one but two jobs! Here I am in Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia leading a group of 42 PAX throughout the Canadian Maritimes. Every day of every tour I remember and use what you taught me in the course. On my very first tour I had sick PAX, missing luggage, late arrivals and all sorts of snafus. Although I know that there are people who become successful tour directors without IGA training, I can't imagine handling these issues with such aplomb if I hadn't taken the tour director course. You have trained me well and I thank you for it!"
Trish Oliveira, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and all the IGA instructors for my in-depth classroom training. Less than 6 weeks after earning my International Tour Director certification, I was headed for my first tour to Cuba!
IGA prepared me to be “tour ready” and, indeed, the solid 9-day training came to be extremely valuable while I was on my first tour (which lasted 15 days). I am extremely confident, especially after getting wonderful reviews from the participants on this tour and thanks to IGA, that I will be thriving in this exciting industry and new career. I am currently leading more tours in Cuba and living the dream."
Michael Johnson: "Last week, among the five different job bulletins you sent all of the graduates, one had a notice about The Colorado Sightseer Company having an opening for a tour guide. I got the job! Thanks! The owner hired me on the spot because I am an IGA graduate."
Denise Healey: Since she graduated from the International Guide Academy, Denise has worked as a professional Tour Manager leading groups for Holland America, Let’s Go Travel, and, for the past 7 years, Collette Vacations. She is also a published author and her latest book Boomers Away has just been published.
Kileen Prather, "This fall I will start my 15th year at Mayflower Tours (can't believe the years have flown by that fast) and in the summer also work for Vacations by Rail. I have been writing little travel blogs on a couple of senior sites. I have 3 travel/ romance novels on kindle for the boomer generation. I also have "Journey Beckons" in book form and "Journey To Port" coming out in book form at the end of this month."
Melvin Robinson, "I was just contacted by Collette Vacations and am heading to the UK to lead a group. It is all thanks to you and IGA. Although I have over 25 years' experience as a Tour Manager, they were only interested in knowing I had taken the IGA course. Keep up the good work. I am telling the world, you cannot get better training, even if you are already a Tour Manager."
Click here to listen to IGA Graduate Larry Horowitz share his IGA and travel experiences.
Janet Poss, "Now that I have had a taste of touring, I am always eager to get back on the road after a tour ends. I am working this season with Smithsonian Student Travel with student groups in Washington DC and New York City. I want to thank you for the excellent training that prepared me for the difficult moments: sick student during Capitol tour, bus not picking up after Broadway Show, and hotel fire evacuation at 2am! I am having a blast!!
Linda Parris, "I just finished a 4-day tour with 3 consolidated groups. There were issues on the tour and your training turned them into easily resolved situations. This is something I love to do. Thank you for all the things you taught us, it makes thinking on my feet so much easier. The education and encouragement you all give is my cornerstone."
Becki Lewis: "I just returned home after my first tour group of the season with Caravan Tours, based in Chicago. The itinerary started in Phoenix, 2 nights at Grand Canyon, 2 nights at Lake Powell, 1 night in Kanab and the final night in Zion National Park, ending at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas. I had 45 people on board. Thanks for everything!"
Marjorie DePuy, "The International Guide Academy is a tremendous resource for anyone considering a career in tour management and operations. As a student in the international tour management program in 1999, I instantly recognized IGA's vast knowledge of the industry and appreciated their ability to bring personal experience into the classroom. Their program was extremely well-organized and well-resourced with top-notch guest faculty and materials. I am absolutely certain that I was interviewed (and hired) as a travel director because of my certification from the International Guide Academy, and I credit them for my success in the course.
Notably, I called on Frank Slater, CEO, several years later as I completed my capstone MBA project. He agreed to serve as an advisor for our business plan to start a travel company, and his counsel once again helped me succeed in the program. I graduated with honors. Thank you, Frank and IGA!"
Bridget Gallagher: "What a beginning for this year's tour season. It began by being hired by the State of Maine Bureau of Tourism again for their week long FAM. This year they had 24 tour operators on board. It was fun meeting them and seeing how they really operate. My following tours for this season so far are: Alaska land and sea tour; Maritimes Canada; French Quebec Canada; Rutland Vermont vintage train tour; Scotland, N. Ireland & Republic of Ireland; Virginia & North Carolina culinary tour; Saratoga Races, New York; and New England Grand Tour
My winter begins in December ending in April in Key West working for Road Scholar's walking tour. What a way to spend a winter, hey? I have accomplished this with the seal of approval from the two companies I work for by being a graduate from IGA. My key to success began when I walked through the doors in Denver Colorado to see the world and for the world to see me. When you get emails from companies you never applied to, you are doing what you were taught by IGA, which is how to do your job well. Thank you IGA, this is where my life began." Click below to hear Bridget speak about her experiences.
Sandi Wheaton, Canada: "Life as a Tour Manager (or 'Tour Director' as Caravan calls us) is awesome. I'm on my second season leading tours of 40+ passengers on 10-day motorcoach tours throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick for Caravan Tours. I also recerntly co-led a small group through Holland with fellow IGA grad, Mettina van den Veen from Go Atlanta and Beyond. I knew this would be a good fit for me job-wise, but I had no idea just how good a fit. I love it, and I can't imagine a better way to make a living. This new career move allows me free time when not touring to focus on my many photography projects, and private tours I plan to offer. I am so thrilled that the course I did with IGA led to this career path. I can't thank you enough for the invaluable training and networking opportunities through IGA.
American Cruise Lines has hired IGA Graduates Pamela Horkans (from the IGA Canada program) and Liz Smith (from the IGA Mexico program and the New England Destination Awareness Program). They are all working for ACL as cruise directors.
Susan Bray: "I have been hired by Globus for two June Western Wonders tours ( and additional tours in Sept and Oct). I am so excited, so nervous and so very grateful to you and everyone at IGA! My experience participating in the International Tour Director course in Las Vegas was fun, educational, and exceeded my expectations. I am really looking forward to my new career thanks to IGA!
Barb Hahn: "I want to thank IGA for offering the Tour Guide/Destination Awareness class in New England. I absolutely-100%- enjoyed it, learned a lot of new information, re-learned things I once knew and had not remembered, learned new ways of presenting information. and met people I hope to see again "on the road." Your style of teaching works so well, making me want to continue to keep learning and do some tours in that area again. "
Elaine Rodriguez: "I just wrapped up my first student tour with Explore America and it was a great success! The tour was from DC to NY and we had a blast. I had such a great time meeting high school students from around the world who were in the US on exchange programs. Seeing the looks of awe and wonder when we reached my hometown, New York City, was truly inspiring and helped me see my city through young eyes. Those expressions on their faces is why I became a tour manager in the first place, and it never gets old. I love my job.
Since taking the Tour Manager course in April 2010, I've worked (and am working) for 3 different companies and I've run tours to Canada, Savannah, Branson, DC, NY, Italy, Spain, and Portugal. I spent most of my summer in Italy last year, and I'll be spending about 4 months in Europe this year- it doesn't get better than that! There's nothing like getting paid to see the world. It's the hardest job I've ever had, but it's also the most fun and rewarding. The world is my office, how wonderful is that?" Click here to listen to Elaine speak about her post-IGA travel experiences
Kim Moriarty: "Just a quick update since I graduated from class in July. I learned so much from your class and I want to thank you all again for helping me confirm that this is truly the career choice for me. I was hired by Sugar Tours in September to lead 3 tours for them. The first was a fall foliage in New England Tour, and then two tours involving tracing the routes of the American Revolution through out the eastern US. Those were with the Elder Hostel now known as Road Scholar. I had 8 tours for summer 2012 and am now living the dream thanks to your training."
Click here to listen to Kim speak about her IGA and travel experiences.
Tom Jensen: "Last year I was a Program Director for Grand Circle Travel’s 18-day tour of western national parks and monuments including Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, Devils Tower, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, and Mesa Verde. Locally, I am a Driver/Guide for tours of Denver, the Front Range, the Pikes Peak Region, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I love sharing my city and state with visitors, many of whom are from outside the U.S. I have also been doing some free-lance work leading tours that circled Colorado. One of the most interesting was a tour that featured the railroads of Colorado – Royal Gorge, Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
As Daniel told us in class, this work is never boring. I credit IGA for my success leading tours. There were so many times I heard Daniel’s voice reminding me to "do a head count", or "what to include in my welcome greeting", or "don’t forget to reconfirm the down line arrangements". I am looking forward to the upcoming season to again “hit the road” and share places, sights, sounds, food, and adventures."
Albina Luther: "I have really enjoyed all of your newsletters (industry information and job leads), so wanted to update you on my world of being paid to travel. I am beginning my 6th year as a Tour Director and love every moment of it; especially meeting all of the people. I have been with Travel Tours for almost 4 years, and have been all over the U.S., Canada, and Ireland. Presently, I am working on a trip to Florida the end of February. I have thought about your class many times and how much it has helped me. Thank you again. I led tours through many of the parks and canyons in the Canyonland's area of the U.S. on a trip called "Mountain Majesty". It is an awesome area of the world."
Click here to listen to IGA 2012 Graduate Sharon Foehl talk about her IGA experience in Mexico.
Paul Sullivan, Ireland, says "Since graduating in February 2008, I have been leading tours for Travelsphere, Just You, EF Educational, Newmarket Travel and others. Thanks to the attention to detail and constant reminder to "confirm, confirm and then re-confirm", I have been successful leading groups around the USA, Ireland, France, Germany, England, Luxemburg, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Malaysia and the Caribbean. The course structure was a huge help, especially regarding logistics. Thank you for a well-planned curriculum which has laid a solid foundation for me and helped me avoid potential pitfalls.
I have worked as Tour Manager for SAGA on their Oberammergau experience, based in the Austrian Tyrol and Bavaria; worked on their River Cruises on the Rhine and Mosel covering The Netherlands, Germany, France and Switzerland. I just finished a Christmas tour of Switzerland and France with Page and Moy Travel Group and am getting ready to go to Cape Town for a few weeks, then Singapore after that. I have tours lined up with EF Educational ans was also just hired by Tailored Travel for a tour in May to Belgium and the Floriad in Velno and Velkenburg in the Netherlands."
Julia Vonder Reith, "I. LOVE. MY. JOB. It's the hardest, scariest job I've ever had, but by FAR the most rewarding, challenging, and fun! I am finally getting paid to HAVE FUN! And the best thing is, when I am having fun, my passengers are having fun! I could not have done it without IGA. There is so much that goes into being a good Tour Director that, without IGA, if I had tried to do it on my own I would have run away from my first tour scared out of my wits. But IGA fully prepared me for all that could happen--both good and bad (and I've already had my share of challenges!) Thank you Daniel, Frank, Connie, etc. for all you taught me! I will probably be a Tour Director throughout the rest of my life! I love it so much!"
Robin Giles, UK "I embarked on my first tour of the year in April which was a 2 week trip to Norway, followed by trips to Austria, Switzerland, (2 trips) Germany, Italy, Canada and Alaska. I have also done a few "short break" tours here in the UK as well. I have worked for mainly two companies this year, Titan Tours and Great Rail Journeys. I have just started contacting companies with a view to employment next year, and am looking to do more UK based tours with companies like Trafalgar Tours, Grand Circle Travel and Grand European Tours."
Bonda Ehlers: " I attended your course in 2008. At that time I was working for Kincaid Coach Lines, Inc. in Lincoln, NE. In late 2008 I was given the title of tour manager along with the opportunity to create custom tours, market them and administer them. I received really good evaluations from passengers at the end of the trips we took. As of March 2011, I had over 500 passengers. Due to the good evaluations I had received from passengers, the home office in Edwardsville invited me to continue to lead tours for them as long as I was willing to travel to Edwardsville to get on the motor coach. Since then I have taken groups to the Rose Bowl Parade, The Azalea Festival, on a Mississippi River Tour, to the Brumley Gospel Sing Festival and many Branson tours. I will be leaving the week after next to lead another Branson tour and led a group to Yellowstone Park in February of 2012. In March I led a 14-day Hawaiian Cruse tour. I have a passion for leading group travel. It's the best 'job' ever!
Click here to hear Sulin Hleli talk about the course and her Taiwan tours.
David Happe, writes: "This past April I was hired by Holland America Line to serve as an Assistant Shore Excursion Manager for their Alaska season. Three months into the season I was transfered to work the final 2 months of their 7-day Bermuda run, which I am currently engaged in until the middle of October. In late October I am contracted to work on a 45-day Western Mediterranean cruise. Beginning in April of 2012, I worked the 7-month Mediterranean season. It has been a very exciting adventure and I owe much gratitude to IGA for their training!
Pamela Horkans, earned her certification in the Ottawa Canada program and reported that she has received her first assignment as Cruise Director with American Cruise Lines. "I am very excited and am confident that the training I received has prepared me for this position. Thank you, International Guide Academy."
Melanie Stickland, writes "Now it's all systems go as I am going to be a river cruise Tour Manager for Shearings over the summer. I led on my own for 5 weeks doing the Rhine and Moselle. I worked river cruising on the Danube and went back to the Rhine late August through September! Needless to say this was all very exciting really and I could not have done it without the IGA program and the IGA team! The head of cruising operations at Shearings was very impressed that I had done the International Guide Academy course! It's very hard work as I am full-on every day, commentary, excursions, activities... but it's great! Thank you."
Terri McDonald writes: "I am with Collette on a full-time basis and am on the road about 200 days a year. My breaks are not very long in-between tours and during that time I am always working on new tours, research, correspondence, etc. You know how that goes! I have worked for the following companies since I graduated: Collette Vacations, Vantage Deluxe World Travel, Elderhostel, Tourco, Jetsave Touring, Flemming Tours, Sunshine Travel, Hanns Ebensten Travel, Alyson Adventures, (my own company)Terri's Travel Corner, and the University of Northern Iowa. Recent tours include: Russian River Cruise, Grand Circle National Park Tour, Ecuador & Galapagos Islands Wildlife Adventure, Jordan Explorer, Treasures of Turkey and Greece, America's Magnificent National Parks, Grand Canyon Rafting Adventure, Southern Music & Dixieland Tour, Chicago Baseball Tour, Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta. I continue to tell people what a wonderful academy you have. I hope many of them will take my advice and attend IGA."
Sandy Gregory: "I have been a Tour Captain with QueensLander Tours since graduating from IGA. It's my dream job! From March through November I lead small-group tours through Italy, specializing in Italy's Great Cities as well as the Lakes District itineraries. I am also working in-country creating new itineraries and researching opportunities for future tours. This winter I will also start leading tours in Australia and New Zealand. My certification from IGA made me well-prepared for this opportunity and I love my job! In 2011 my duties expanded as I was given the assignment to create, write, produce and act in two new projects currently rolling out from QueensLander Tours. 2013 will involve even more trips. Thank you IGA!"
Jose Goncalves, "I graduated from IGA and began to form and lead my own "groups of special interest" of 12-16 people to different parts of the world. I found out how valuable my training from IGA was in leading the groups and especialy handling unexpected cases such as emergency health problems, transportation, hotels, sudden changes in itineraries and handling difficult clients. I have taken groups to Europe, Africa, China, Southeast Asia, India and Central and South America (31 different countries altogether). With the excellent training I received, traveling in other countries was smooth.
Being a Tour Director is hard work but very rewarding and a lot of fun. My tours have ranged from Archeology, Cultural, Vacation, Photographic and Hunting Safaris in Africa, Wine tasting and others. There has never been a dull moment. Thanks again for the great training that gave me full confidence to lead groups of people and solve the unexpected situation on location, somewhere in the wonderful hidden corners of the world."
Bernie Wentzek, "I've been busy leading students tours for Worldstrides and an occasional adult tour (most recently a group of Doctors from the Philipines). I head back to Portland this week and go straight to an interview/driving test for The Pink Trolley, a new local tour company (well, the trolley part is new). For Worldstrides, I have been training new guides, will be visiting schools around the country (in the later part of the Fall) and will represent Course Leaders (guides) at a couple of teacher conferences in Seattle and Mexico."
Click here to listen to Elyse Eriksson speak of her IGA experience
Robbin Robinson: "Being a Tour Manager has been a dream of mine for many years and thanks to my great training at IGA I was able to walk in to my new career completely prepared. I feel that I have definitely found my niche! I have been leading tours with Road Scholar Tours (previously Elderhostel) for 8 seasons now. I started my career with Road Scholar as an Assistant and was hired as a Tour Leader in my first season. I know that one of the reasons I was hired was because I was so well trained by the IGA instructors. My tours include: Hiking Georgia O'Keefe country, Exploring The Anasazi Ruins and The Four Corners, Chaco Canyon Snapshot Tours, Taos Ayuervedic Lifestyle Tours, Four Corners Archeology and Anthropology, Roadside Geology in The Four Corners, New Mexican Puebloan Christmas Dances and Winter Solstice Celebration. I am responsible for Coach Tours of 17-35 passengers that range from 3 to 10 days in duration. I work closely with my bus driver to ensure that our trip runs as smoothly as possible. My main objective on tours is to create the best possible experience for each participant. As a result, I continue to receive positive evaluations, and have many returning participants. I was also a Tour Guide on The U.S.S. KIDD in Baton Rouge for 5 years. There I facilitated Tours and Overnight Excursions aboard the ship for large groups of passengers. Just wanted to let you know that along with my Southwest Tours in the spring and the fall, I will now also be leading trips through the Everglades now that it is winter. Needless to say I am very excited! )
Linda Parris, "I am off next week to work on the train in Alaska for ESS/Alaska railroad cars. When I return from AK in September, I will have a job with Gray Line Tours Arizona based in Tucson. I will be driving and talking. I am so excited to be able to be a Tour Director and be in Arizona for a while. I got an interview right away and got the job. It helped that I came with a cover letter, resume, and a copy of your letter. Always be prepared and "being early is on time". I am so excited about how things are going. Thank you for the training."
Darren Hosang writes: "After completing one summer season in guest services in Denali, Alaska with Holland America Line in 2009, I returned to Ft. Lauderdale to continue working at Port Everglades assisting with disembarkation procedures and check-in for outgoing guests as well as pre-cruise and ship day meet and greets at the airports and at locally contracted hotels. I also worked with six star rated Crystal Cruises at the port of Miami and then with tour operators in Miami and in Ft. Lauderdale doing motorcoach tours of the city of Ft. Lauderdale, the riverfront, the Florida Everglades National Park, the city of Miami, Miami Beach and the Art Deco District on South Beach. I returned to Alaska and worked with Royal Celebrity Tours as one of their TDs for the season. 2012 was great, working and building my resume. I was in Alaska for my second summer with RCT. Last winter I worked in the limousine business and also led day tours around Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach and surrounding area. I'm glad to be receiving tour opportunities from your IGA clients. Thank you again for your excellent training program."
Bob Humphries, "After graduating from the first IGA Course held at sea in November 2009, I have been leading mostly student tours with Academic Travel. There have been so many excellent moments ... like the picture shown (on the right hand side of this webpage) of my Ponca City, Oklahoma HS Choir singing the national anthem ... a cappella ... in harmony ... mid-field at the Dallas Cowboy Stadium. Talk about putting a lump in your throat! Times like this are why we do what we do."
Marina Lyakhova (Russia/New York) wrote: "Thank you very much for the incredible education experience that you have provided in the course. The knowledge that you gave was not only very informative, lively, full of humor and great details, but also very practical for the tourism profession and for life in general. As teachers, you were the best that I ever had, and as people you were caring, funny, friendly, and full of energy--people who I want to meet again in the future. Your enthusiasm about the subject and energetic spirit created a unique atmosphere for the students and the learning process, uniting all of us, and making us friends in life and profession for a long time to come. Thank you again for providing the experience of a lifetime, full of memories and experiences that I will keep in my portfolio forever."
Curtis Evans wrote: "I wanted to let you know that I have been offered and I have accepted a full time position with Omni Air International as a international flight attendant. I had included my certification for tour director along with details of my studies at IGA and I am confident that including this information on my resume greatly enhanced my chance of getting hired. I will be based out of DFW flying to European, middle east and Asian cities. I can not begin to tell you how excited I am!"
Karl Thiry, France writes: "I have been doing very well in the Tour department. Since I graduated in February 2008 I have led tours all over the USA West Coast, East Coast , Canada and Hawaii. Some of the companies that have hired me are: Terres Indiennes, BonjourUSA, Adventure Travel West, Allibert& Nomade Aventures. I had a contract with Nordic Fascination for summer where I led tours in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Baltic States. I am loving every moment of it, and I am serious ...hard work but great results and lots of fun. Thank you again for your program, it was the best thing I did for my future as a Tour Director."
Click to hear Karl speak of his IGA and Job experiences.
Sherri Moon: "This summer I will be working for Premier Alaska Tours based in Anchorage, AK. I will be leading tours in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. As the largest Alaskan owned land based receptive tour operator, we pride ourselves in offering the best values in Alaska travel."
Tourism Cares for International Guide Academy Certificate Recipient Professional Development Scholarship Advances Future Leaders in Travel and Tourism Canton, Caron Guillo of Amarillo, TX has been awarded one of the ASTA George Reinke Scholarships by Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the travel experience for future generations. Each year, Tourism Cares awards Professional Development Scholarships to graduates of travel-and-tourism or hospitality certificate programs in the United States. Caron received a certificate as a Certified International Tour Manager in June of 2010 from the International Guide Academy in Denver, CO."
Carolyn Emanuel, is currently (2012) leading Grand Circle Travel America's Majestic National Parks plus Elderhostel San Antonio and Grand Circle Field Institute tours. She has been the Program Coordinator/Guide for Road Scholar/Elderhostel for trips in Mesa Verde. She has guided in Mesa Verde including the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Train trips, the Four Corners area, Mesa Verde, Canyon Country, and Rafting the San Juan river. Currently, she is doing Grand Circle Tours "America's National Parks" plus 2 Paria Canyon backpacking trips in October. Then, London and Paris. Carolyn and Duncan Rollo have their own Tour Company, "Back Story Tours". They specialize in behind-the-scenes tours of America's cultural and natural treasures. Tours are designed for groups of 12 to 18 people with transportation provided in 21-passenger mini-buses.
Roberto Garza states: "This past summer I worked as a park ranger doing interpretation at Rocky Mountain National Park. I really enjoyed the experience. The things I learned in my IGA classes were very helpful. The training I've had and the experience of working as a park ranger will help me with my future work in tourism."
René Ostberg, earned her certification from IGA and is now the founder and owner of Wayfaring Women Tours. She states "I don't think I would have been able to pull all this together without the course at IGA. What I learned in the course really made a difference in terms of knowing who to talk to and what to ask when contacting suppliers and organizing my research and materials for each tour. I'm excited and looking forward to leading the tours I've planned and seeing how it all pans out--and hopefully planning more tours down the road. I have a lot more confidence in my ability to do what needs to get done than if I hadn't have taken the tour manager course." We wish René the best with her new company and invite all to visit her site. www.wayfaringwomentours.com
Ria Mignano: "An amazing experience with you all. It was one of the highlights of my life. I am so excited about my future now and I haven't felt that way in such a long time."
Allison Bitten, "I have excellent news! I was hired by Mayflower Tours and I have already led my first tour. It was an 11 day motorcoach tour of New England and Cape Cod. I have so much to thank the International Guide Academy for, as your program was so integral in my success with preparation for this career and your specific instructions and book on getting hired. The hiring manager was pleased I had this training and certification from IGA. Your program is so thorough that, with all my training at Mayflower, there were no surprises as we had covered everything in class at IGA. I never dreamed that my first company would be a large and recognized company like Mayflower and I really could not be more thrilled! Thank you for everything!!"
Gayle Wingo, "One of the great highlights for me was taking your course in Ottawa and I sincerely THANK YOU for such a rewarding experience. Not only did I learn a great deal about my future profession from you I also met some truly amazing individuals. I so appreciate the emails you have sent since the class ended and I do look forward to receiving your input and guidance once I prepare my cover letters and resumes. I have given your website address to several folks, hopefully you will hear from them."
Richard Lewis, Facebook posting the day after graduating: "Thanks. Best decision I made was to finally enroll at IGA. I had been toying with the idea for several years. Much more than I expected. I am truly looking forward to translating this training into a solid Tour Manager experience."
Brandi Milligan, "The past two weeks have held some of the best experiences I've had. Thank you for the opportunity that IGA created for me to meet some incredible people and form what I hope will be long lasting friendships. This course and its instructors have helped me realize that I can live my passion, and I can't wait to begin that journey. I wish you all the best. Thank you for everything."
Kimberly Wawrzyniak, "I wanted to give you an update on how great things are going! A few months before coming to IGA I had applied for a position with a division of Travel Leaders agency. I had received the "thanks but no thanks" letter. Fine, I was leaving for IGA. Last week they emailed to see if I had actually taken the course and if I was still looking for employment. I went in for an interview the next day and they hired me on the spot! I know that having graduated from IGA's Tour Manager course was why I got the job!
Additionally, I already had 2 interviews set up for this week with Tour Operators in IL and in MN, so I wasn't about to not go to those despite this new job. Tuesday I interviewed with Tri-State Travel in IL (went very well) and Wednesday I interviewed with Sunshine Travel in MN. They thought I was a perfect fit with their company, and contracted me for spring/summer! They were impressed that I'd taken the IGA Tour Manager course & had all sorts of questions for me about the class and the regional manager wants to take the class now! But the best part was that, despite the horror stories they threw at me, I felt entirely prepared and confident enough to handle any of those scenarios because of the IGA Tour Manager course. You gave us all the knowledge to handle tour disasters with reassurance and calm! I was able to interview with confidence because of IGA. Thank you!"
Janette Tepas, "I wanted to log in and let you know how much help my training was from the International Guide Academy on my first international tour. I took a small group of 8 wonderful people around Venice, Florence, San Gimignano, Cortona, Assisi, and Rome! I felt like I had a little handle on things from so many of the issues we discussed in class. Upon my arrival in Rome, the very type of situation we had to come up with answers for happened to me: My hotel knocked me out of the room, due to some kind of water issue or other. They set me up in a lovely luxury hotel further away from the center of town. Rather than fretting about it, since we had dealt with such an issue in class, I thought of our group, and you, and had a good chuckle....fortunately, it was just me, and not guests. A lovely "upgrade" and there are NO PROBLEMS. The importance of my driver was huge, as he spoke English, and was very helpful. I'm glad we covered the topic. My technical itinerary was always with me, and I would not have been able to function without it, and I was always EARLY! My group of guests was wonderful, and they believe themselves to be the "best group ever", and of course, so far, I must agree. As you may recall, I was fairly nervous about starting this career, but I have a sense that, with your help, I will love it for a long time to come. Back to Italy in two weeks for a four month stint!"
Winston Walker, IGA graduate, is founder of Winmarc Vacation Adventures, an adventure travel company that personalizes and arranges outdoor leisure and adventure experiences for individuals and groups.Their goal is to provide memorable travel experiences with an unwavering commitment to quality.
Sarah Kuiken is working for EF Educational Tours as a Tour Consultant. "Before I took your class I was in a dead-end job that I hated, and now, I'm working at a job I love in the travel industry, and I have you and IGA to thank. I would gladly sing your praises to anyone who cares to hear. One of these days I'll take the tour guide course too. I feel so supported by you, even though I graduated months ago, and it's so apparent that you love what you do and you care about the students you work with, and that I think is the best part."
Kaz Purre, reports that "I just completed my 7th year as a Tour Manager (can you believe it has been that long?!) I graduated in November 2004 and had my first job in 2005. I've worked for two companies (my choice to only work for these two) - Titan Travel out of England and West Forever (Harley tours), an Australian subsidiary of a French company. We did Rt. 66 from Chicago to LA on Harleys in summer with Aussies and French riders, also did the Great American Railroad and Rockies, Sierras and Napa for Titan. Of course, I have nothing but good things to say about IGA."
Jacqueline Malan, South Africa/Canada The last 10 days really exceeded my already high expectations! This training was extremely inspirational and the way each one of the instructors succeeded in teaching us what they have experienced first-hand was absolutely out of this world!
Barb Hahn: "I just wanted to say that I really did benefit in many ways from the class I took in 2008, I am still working for Titan, but have changed some of the ways I do things for the passengers. My evaluations have been almost perfect! I would still want to apply to other companies, but Titan is keeping me busy with a good variety this year -- California and the West, National Parks (starting in Denver), Pacific Northwest, and an Alaska cruise-tour. So thing are going well."
Daphne Marrable is working for A Private Guide, Inc. as Vice-President of Tour Development.
Janet Kucks writes: "Now off to my next excursion to Staten Island, NY for a Senior lunch and show! Next: Bethlehem, PA to see the Christmas lights and capping the year: The Radio City Rockettes Christmas Show. We have made plans for multi-day overnights I will be leading starting in April thru October to: Charleston and Savannah, Newport (Rhode Island) and the mansions, plus Mystic (CT), Bar Harbor (Maine), Ocean City (Maryland), Washington DC and Cherry Blossoms, Niagara Falls, Montreal, and Quebec! "
Annette Schmidt (Florida): "I did a training tour, then my own (in 3 languages) for ATI here in FL, last season, and worked for them again this past season. I will also do the City tours up north and the Foliage Tours as well."
Jess MacCartee: "I met with Educational Tours in Alexandria, VA today and will be starting with them on Friday to do Tour Directing in DC and New York. Thanks very much for your help with my resume. Educational Tours has 9 Tour Directors that have attended IGA. I also have an upcoming interview with TrekAmerica and am meeting with Sugar Tours in April."
Some of the students from the Tour Manager program wrote:
I am so glad this class opened up since all the classes before this were full when I tried to enroll. Been wanting to do this for over 10 years, but did not know there was a certification needed. Very intense, a lot of work, I never realized how much work my Tour Managers have done behind the scenes. Looking forward to the next chapter of my life! Mary C. Klepper
I joined this class but was not really sure if I would really like this as a career choice. After taking the Tour Manager course, I know that I want this to be my next step. It is going to be a lot of work, but now I am ready. Thank you for teaching me so much and showing me the path to my future career! Jillian Rex
I enjoyed this experience so very much! The course was much more intense than I expected since I have been in the industry for many years. I learned so much. Eileen Williams
I am so glad I was able to take this course. The amount of information is broad and I can see why so many of your graduates take the book with them on tour. It has been fun and I assure you that you will hear from me when I am on my first tour. Great fun! JoAnn Thomas, Texas
I knew the first day of class that I had "found my tribe"! I am so grateful for the experience and the education. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge, ideas, and stories! Lisa DeLaFleur
Thank you for opening a new world for me: the world of Tour Management. Thanks for your training, leadership, and encouragement. I loved the "real life" adventures all the instructors shared with us. Tom Jensen
Thank you for a wonderful experience. I have learned more in this class than I learned in any class in college. The class was well structured and very fun. Thank you! Karl Thompson
While this was the most intense class I have ever taken, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I not only learned about becoming a Tour Manager, I also learned a lot about myself and what I am truly capable of. Thanks for keeping in interesting and fun. Debbie Buchanan
It was worth it for me to come all the way from Tunisia to take this special course. What a privilege it was to be in this class. I return to Tunisia with new knowledge, wonderful skills, and a great learning experience. Imed Dabbour, Tunisia
Thank you for this outstanding class. It was wonderful the way you guided all of us and shared your knowledge and experiences with us. Abdallah Mejdoub, Morocco
Thanks so much for your hard work and enthusiasm during this course. You have saved me from 5 years of making mistakes and learning on my own. Ross Schmidt, Colorado
The professionalism of your course FAR exceeded my expectations. I learned a great deal and appreciate the time spent teaching us what "not" to do.Joshua McGowan, California
I cannot thank you enough for your wealth of knowledge, enthusiasm, and generous donation of your time. This course has opened my eyes to a whole new life. I look forward to a life-long relationship with IGA. Katherine Eaton (Bools), Ireland
Thank you all for such an excellent and informative course. What a great venue for a Tour Manager course. Everything was incredibly well organized. I am still in awe of the job searching and networking support that you offer after class. Beth Sanna, Canada
This program was great and exceeded my expectations! I feel prepared to head into the exciting world of Tour Management. Jeannie Travers, Kansas
I came to IGA and Cuernavaca not quite knowing what to expect. This course lived up to my expectation and so much more! Thank you so much for helping me finally find my niche in the travel industry. Paule Menard-Fok, Canada
The program and training went beyond my expectations. This is an excellent program, and I feel lucky I came across it. If more people knew about it, I am sure you would be booked and putting students on a waiting list, (if you have not already). The school went all-out in giving us such a wonderful graduation party. Thank you for everything. Annabelle Fortier
This course was exactly what I wanted and expected. Thanks for doing a great job and for all your help. Victor Stefanini, Tennessee
Thanks for everything: The laughs, learning, and mostly for a solid foundation that will lead to a new life. Jeanne Rogers, Idaho
Thanks for a great experience and keep up the great work! Sharon Burgin, Oklahoma
Very knowledgeable, very informative, great location, great learning environment. Valerie Steger, Illinois
This has been an awesome experience. I am so glad I made this decision. I am so grateful for everything, especially the memories. Marsha Hagestad, Oregon
THANKS! for all your help and expertise. I am looking forward to some great cruising.
Carol Brackman, Texas
I loved every moment, this experience has left me completely happy. Life is good. I learned so much and had the opportunity to create memories for a life. Thank you for all that you did to make it happen. Katia Campbell, Switzerland
I will keep you posted about my future endeavors. Mercedes Corraliza, Morocco
This class was fantastic! I've learned so much about the travel industry and myself and I have met the most wonderful people. Thanks. Kathy Grillo, Massachusetts
I am thankful for this opportunity to get into the Tour Manager business. The two weeks spent here in Mexico are priceless. The education, the sightseeing and the friends I have made. This really is a life changing experience. Emilie Daniel, Vermont
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! This has been a great experience and has "stretched" me both personally and professionally. What professionals you are and your enthusiasm and experience is inspiring. Jane Pritchett, Florida
Now that I know everything there is to know about Tour Management, I figured I should say thank you. I'm looking forward to our continuing friendship and I hope someday I can give back 1/2 of what you have given me. Thanks for helping be break the chains of the box that is the way most people view the world. Naomi Gunnels, Florida
You changed my life! Tany Encinas, Illinois
Wow, what a wonderful experience. I now feel like I've found a calling and a new family of friends. RJ Keetch. Florida
I finally know what I'm meant to be. Thanks IGA. Edie Reinhardt, Delaware
Rebecca Richardson: "I have been hired by Adventure Travel West to lead a group from France to the Grand Canyon and parks in Utah on a 16-day hiking/camping trip. After this, I will be taking a group to France for barge trips."
Becky Brennan: "Thank you for such an incredible experience. I never imagined that I could learn so much. You have developed a course content and teaching method that is amazing and more efficient than any other class I have ever taken, even when obtaining my MBA. My life is far richer for this experience."
Tracy Causley: "I recently landed a job with Sugar Tours and Elderhostel. I have my own 12-day tour in October the runs through Boston, Vermont, New York, Philadelphia, Williamsburg and Annapolis. It is called 'Tracing the Roots of the American Revolution'. Chris Donnelly called me specifically because I was an IGA graduate.
This class really tested my limits but I came out of it with the realization of what I am capable of and that my dream of being an International Tour Manager and traveler will be a reality. Thank you for all your hard work and pushing us to be the very best that we can be. I know I am now ready!"
Carol Tippelt: "I thoroughly enjoyed this course and feel privileged to have received expert instruction from such an incredible staff! I will be thanking you forever for providing me a solid foundation to excel in this exciting and fulfilling career. Your enthusiasm, passion, and knowledge are impressive. Your training and instructors are TOP NOTCH! I am so thrilled that I found out about IGA! Your students love you."
Judy Shormann: "I am so glad I took the plunge to risk a change in my life and come to IGA. It has been an amazing experience. Little did I know that I would be challenged in every way: intellectually, psychologically, and physically. What an incredible feeling of accomplishment that I met the challenge and am looking forward to beginning the next chapter of my life, which would not have been possible without your incredible training."
Rodney Sparks: "I want to thank you for an amazing course. I thought the course would be demanding but I never dreamed that I could have so much fun while being challenged so much. I cannot wait to put my new skills to use. Thank you for everything."
FROM PRIOR CLASSES:
"IGA provided me with a world of opportunities"
"Studying in Cuernavaca provided an environment for us as student to have cultural stimulation and spirited conversations with my fellow classmates and to take fascinating side trips."
"I lived and studied in the "city of eternal spring" and where Mexico's past meet me when I left the door of my lodging.'
"One of our training trips included a tour of Xochicalco where Mesoamerican high priests studied astronomy and arranged their calendar. We also visited in Cuernavaca the palace built in 1532 by conquistador Hernan Cortes which is now a museum with a fantastic Diego Rivera mural."
"I could not have received better teachers. They considered the needs of all the students and were available to us outside of classroom hours."
"In my class we had students from Japan, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, France and the USA. I loved making friends with people from all over the world."
"Everyday was an unforgettable learning experience."
"Our lodging was terrific, the food delicious and the Mexican family hosts where very kind."
Other IGA graduates have been busy as well:
Dan Dieckhaus: "I recently completed 13 days in Italy visiting Venice, Florence, Cortona, Rome and Sorrento. I have been asked to repeat this tour in August and again in September. I have been hired by Country Walkers of Vermont to co-manage a trip to the Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion in late June. I have also signed on with Western Leisure to manage a trip through Colorado consisting of: Denver-Colorado Springs-Durango-Grand Junction-Denver. Flemming Tours has me working this summer with Saga Tours in order to manage future trips for them. I am also working on a trip to Australia for a tour company working with PBS Tours and a trip to Ireland/Scotland for Queenslander in Denver. I want to thank you for all the job leads and guidance you have provided me."
Janet Solesky: "This summer I led 5 New York tours and also a group from India. My first tour was a group with 3 different arrival times at 3 different airports. When all was done, seen and said, I loved dealing with groups from all over. I received 4 "excellent" reviews from the Group Leaders on 4 of my tours, which yielded me 4 bonus checks from the Tour Operator."
Therese Schoen has her own company, Mythic World Tours, which specializes in high-end tours in Central Europe. She spends much of her time in Vienna, Austria organizing European tours. She plans to expand her business to offer tours of the Western USA to German speaking guests.
Justin Stone: "I was hired by Collette Vacations - Full Time! My first tour goes through 4 European countries. Thank you for all the training in Mexico. It definitely helped! " UPDATE:"I continue to move forward with Collette. They sent me to Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji for the entire Spring! I completed the 2 longest tours our company has back-to-back (Journey to the South Pacific and The Complete South Pacific Tour). They have also been sending me to the Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, and Hungary. I returned to Europe for a month in mid-September.
Barbara Johnson: "I completed my first two tours in New England for Tourco, which has been my dream for many years. I totally enjoyed this work!! I did a 5-Day and 13-Day Tour. I was gone for three weeks! Thanks to your fine Academy, I was very well prepared for every part of this new career and now feel very confident that I am totally ready for all on-the-road "Tour Manager" responsibilities. I know that many more opportunities are just around the corner!!! Thanks for all your help and for making it fun to learn also!! I have been offered two more tours in the New England area from Tourco (who I did tours for last fall). I worked the spring break and early summer for Smithsonian Student Travels and did a tour with one of your instructors, Roxanne Snell (we had two motorcoaches!). I have been offered a National Parks Tour in September with Globus family of brands and I am ecstatic! "
Erin Radoux: "I wish I had discovered your course much earlier in my career. I am confident that the skills I acquired during your incredible course have prepared me to be a world class Tour Manager. I had my first tour with C&G Tours 2 weeks ago. I will take students on a band trip to Oahu, HI and do an 8-day Colorado Rockies Tour via train in July. I am so excited! This class changed my life and I found the courage to take risks that I never thought I could. It was the best decision I ever made."
Mary Jane Ulrich: has worked for Air Bear Travel leading tours from Northern Michigan to New Orleans, and Straits Area Step On Guide Service touring the Straits of Mackinac. "I know that the training and encouragement that I received at IGA prepared me well for the motorcoach travel adventures. Attending the International Guide Academy was a positive change for my life! "
Cameron Camp: "I want to thank you for all the hard work you put into the classes in Mexico. Because of the excellent training I received from IGA, I am now a French-speaking Tour Director for Adventure Travel West. I will direct hiking and backpacking tours throughout the western and southwestern USA. IGA graduate Kerry Anderson (also from my Mexico class) will be my trainer on my training tour which will be the beginning of a great career! Thanks again for everything."
Margot Hanrahan: "At present, I am working steadily for Archeological Tours. I just did an 18-day tour to Peru and leave for Berlin and Vienna in November. I also continue to work for Hospitality Tours and just finished up a week long Cape Cod tour for them. I have been with them for a few years now and have conducted a lot of tours all over the place including Nova Scotia, which I do regularly. I am still doing tours for C&G Tours because I love going to New York City and also because I am loyal to them as they were the first company to give me a chance! I have picked up more companies along the way, most recently Northeast Unlimited Tours in New England. I guess you could say things are going very well!"
Karl Thiry, France: "In all honesty I more than enjoyed every moment of your course in Mexico. I was amazed by the classes, my fellow students, the instructors, and accommodations. I will suggest your classes to anyone interested in this industry. I leave Mexico with confidence, memorable experiences, world class training, and a big smile."
Roxanne Eflin: "Good news! I have been hired by Alpine Adventure Tours and Tourco, both Maine based Tour Operators, for 5 different tours. I will also be working at the Democratic National Convention. Thank you for giving me the tools and the confidence." (Picture at right is Roxanne and her group from the UK at Portland Headlight, Maine)
Ingrid Beyer, South Africa:"Thank you so very much for everything you taught me. I have truly enjoyed this course beyond my expectations. This course is truly worthwhile!"
Autumn Wilson: "This has truly been a great experience! You have given me the confidence to go out and take the leap into this industry thanks to everything you taught me. Thank you for everything!"
Adrianne Wiegenstein: "This course was everything I had hoped for, and more. I am convinced that, because of your class, my career change decision has been more than validated. I have grown and learned so much from all of you. Thanks for the opportunity to participate in this great class."
Karen Dunne: "After working for 2 years for Royal Celebrity Cruises in Alaska (what an incredible job!) I am in my third year with Adventures by Disney. This year I will be doing the "Spirit of America" tour, which is Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Williamsburg. I am also doing the Wyoming tour which includes Jackson, Yellowstone, and Brooks Lake Lodge. I had a blast doing this tour back in 2007 whitewater rafting on the Snake River, hiking through Yellowstone, and horseback riding and canoeing at Brooks Lake Lodge.
As my friends tell me, I obviously do not want to grow up. I just want to be a Tour Manager forever! Can you imagine spending your summers touring the Smithsonian, the National Zoo, running up the steps of the Philadelphia Mint, running through a hedge maze in Williamsburg, and enjoying the water park at the Gray Wolf Hotel? Talk about feeling lucky...this is a dream come true...Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"
Elizabeth Quin: "Today I was offered a Tour Manager position with Collette Tours after a 5-day Tour/Interview process. There were 6 other IGA graduates there as well, most of whom were offered positions. Thank you for the training and all your wonderful help with my resume. I would not be here without you."
Jean Greene: "I am leading groups from the U.K. on 8-day tours of New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. I will also be in Alaska for the entire summer season with Royal Celebrity. I was offered many other positions before deciding to work the season in Alaska. I am sure the training you gave me really gave me the edge to land this position during my interview. Thank you so much!"
Tom McCarron, Canada:"I wanted to let you know that Globus family of brands has me doing their Maritime Coastal Adventure Tour. I will be doing this 13-day tour for the entire season. I have also been hired by two other companies to conduct local guiding off of the cruise ships for September and October after my current tour ends for the season." (Tom is pictured here)
Nancy Cygan states: "I am so excited! I will be working for New Horizons doing customized trips for middle school and high school bands, orchestras, and choral groups. I will be starting in Chicago and Midwest destinations. I also have 3 Chicago based trips and 1 in Minneapolis. I have been interviewing Holland America Cruiselines to work as a land-based Tour Director and I was offered the job. My itineraries include: Seaward, Anchorage, Denali, Fairbanks, Beaver Creek, Whitehorse, Skagway, Dawson, and the Arctic Circle. Thank you so much for all your help and support! "
Lynn Helmers: "I just got off a tour and made HUGE money. I had 52 passengers and made $$$$ in tips and $$$$ in commissions, and I am expecting a good salary check as well. Passengers were from England, USA, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. They were a GREAT group! I still love doing the tours! Thanks for the training!"
Cheryl Sennett, Texas: "I have two tours for Globus family of brands. Both are "Colorado's National Parks & Trains" 9 day tours. I have a training tour, then 2 tours on my own. After that, I have a 14 day tour called "Grand New England". So, I am booked! Thanks for your help and thanks for a great class!
Lisa Shoemaker, Kansas, writes: "I found a company right in my own back yard, and a week later I was hired. So, I now have at least 3 companies that I will get tours from. I am ready now and very excited to finally be getting started!"
David Shaffer, Colorado, wrote: "I have to admit that I struggled with the decision to take this course. Is it right for me? Is it the right time? After the first day, my questions were answered. This was the right decision. It has been a long time since I learned so much while having such fun. Your passion shows through every day!"
Cella Roberts wrote: "It was my lucky day when I looked up Tour Guide Schools and up popped IGA! I appreciate your level of integrity. You run a very professional and practical Tour Guide class. I was truly excited to come to classes and I am that much more excited to give my first paid tour! You have touched the lives of many in such a positive manner. I also admire your compassion, understanding and humanitarian efforts that make yours such a fabulous school."
Jennifer Bennett, Ohio, writes "I wanted to give you some good news. I was hired to lead 4 tours for student groups and I'm very grateful for that."
Beth VanAernem, Arizona, writes: "I wanted to let you know I am currently working for Detours of Arizona doing local trips to places like the Grand Canyon and Sedona. I started there two months ago and I truly love it! Detours is a small company started five years ago by two former Tour Guides. What I learned in your classes was invaluable and opened up these doors for me I never knew existed. Thank you for that."
Cynthia Fischer, has been taking groups to Europe for several years, and also works her own travel franchise specializing in cruises.
Kathleen Huser, is working rail tours with Mid America Tours, Inc. She is scheduled for 2 more upcoming tours: Chicago to Branson, MO and "West Virginia Autumn Railroading". She will also have at least 2 more tours before year end.
Jacqui Rothman, Illinois, wrote: "I am happily working for two touring companies out of Illinois. One does student tours and the other is involved in tours for "mature travelers" I love both jobs and enjoy the similarities and differences of the people on my coaches."
Chrys Foster, Washington, "Thanks for this - not only for the information but also for IGA's efforts in making it come to pass. I led a group to Venice, Milan, and the Lake District. I had to connect with local guides at each stop. By and large they were exceptional. I got the AAA Rose Parade assignment. Thank you! Additionally, I am still deep in discussions with another Tour Operator and a late entrant who also wants me to work for them."
Serena Tamburrini, Rome, Italy writes "I just wanted to take some time aside to let you know how much I enjoyed your program. It was a real revelation to me and an amazing experience! You were truly exceptional and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to come to Colorado. I will definitely recommend your school to whoever I will meet along the way interested in this career. I learned a lot these last 10 days, not only the things that you taught us in class but above all how it is important to never judge and always respect the cultural differences and customs. You gave me even more inspiration to work and deal with people from all over the world. Thank you so much for this opportunity!"
Angela Bolender, reports that "I just got a job offer. I'll be working for a company, Student City, Inc. in Cancun, Mexico. The on-site coordinator position includes event management and staffing, meet and greet arrivals at the airport, hotel management and staffing, optional tour sales, promotions, coordinate venues and suppliers, lobby duty, 24-hour duty and various on-site tasks."
Esther Staheli, Switzerland, "Thank you again very much for these very interesting and special 10 days in your academy. Everybody, including me, was so excited about the way you teach, the contents of the classes, the variety of people you brought into the classes, and so much more. You showed all of us a new way of life and opened up doors for us. Thank you!!! I am looking forward to staying in touch with you."
Armando "Arnie" Davila, Puerto Rico: Arnie has been hired by Rico SunTours as a Tour Guide in Puerto Rico. He has also been contracted as a Tour Guide with Explorica Canada. "This experience was priceless, and your training was key in giving this group such a good impression of the DMC I represented." ---Arnie joined the IGA instructors staff in 2009 for our Spanish Language Tour Manager Course.
Marsha Adelson, Pennsylvania writes: "I have been hired by one of the companies in the Hiring Book you gave us at graduation. I will be doing tour for them with school groups from the Pittsburgh area to Williamsburg, VA and Gettysburg, PA. I have also been asked to be their primary Tour Escort/Manager for tour this fall, which I am very much looking forward to."
Linda Knowles, Virginia, is currently working with the Washington DC Guide Service.
Lisa Johnson and Diana Geis, Texas, have their own tour company, Tour Time Adventures, based out of Archer City, TX. They specialize in local tours of casinos and sites in Texas and Oklahoma. Their motto is "Take Time To Enjoy Life" because time waits for no one.
Roberta Greengard, worked with Seniors Tour Canada. She states "I am the step-on guide for the Seniors Tour Canada. I am soooooooo excited. Thank you for the part you had in me getting this opportunity."
Georgiana Vavra, Wisconsin, states: "My Tour Director position is with Fancy-Free Holidays, Inc. I was so glad to get my foot in the door. They have hired another grad from IGA also. The information imparted to me during the interview was already learned from IGA. I will first be on a Mystery Tour for 5 days. Then I start my solo Tour Directing."
Ken Bohl, has been hired by Mayflower for their "Branson Showtime" and "Land of Lincoln" tours. Since graduating, Ken has also worked for World Wide Country Tours, the "Frankenmuth Oktoberfest" for Mayflower, "America by Rail" to Branson, and the "Pella Tulip Fest / Amana Tour" for Mid-America Tours. Ken wrote that "I feel very strongly that being an IGA graduate already got me in the door, they had already decided to hire me based on that, and the interview process was just a validation of the qualifications they already knew I had because I was Certified by IGA. I'm sure that the skills you taught me will make me very successful on these tours."
Derek Haddon, is now working for Suntrek Tours as a trek leader. "After my training with IGA, I knew I could do it. In fact, attending your school, I believe, was a big plus for them considering me."
Stacy Messer, Idaho, shortly after graduating began working a yearlong assignment in the Middle East as a Tour Manager. Now with a year's experience Stacy reports "I recently worked in the Middle East (Egypt & Jordan) after completing the Tour Manager course with the International Guide Academy, and had one of the best experiences of my life. I learned a great deal about passenger expectations, the culture, the adventure and how they view the Middle East before they visit and afterwards, which is completely different. I was at an advantage when I worked in the Middle East, because many of the Tour Managers had no professional training and, thanks to the International Guide Academy, I was one of the most professionally prepared. The Middle East is a wonderful place to work as a Tour Manager."
Jennie Reckon, Canada, writes "I just wanted to tell you that I was just offered a position as a Tour Manager for Globus family of brands, and that I accepted it. Thanks for all of your support throughout this process!"
Michael Hagerman, reports that "I drove a tour bus for 16 years then took the IGA Tour Manager course and was hired for two seasons by Destination America - now Trafalgar Tours." Mike is now the owner of Synergy Tours in Scottsdale, Arizona and his company conducts motorcoach tours of North America.
Maureen O'Donnell, reports, "I was hired by Fancy-Free Holidays as a Tour Director. My training tour will be in September; followed by a covered bridges tour in Indiana...I gave all of the correct answers in the interview thanks to excellent preparation from your International Tour Manager Course."
Catherine Palmieri, reports "I wanted to let you know that I have started a new job that I am very excited about. I was hired in by Holbrook Travel, a tour operator located Florida. I work in the Elderhostel Department, planning and preparing Elderhostel trips. I feel very lucky to have this job, and definitely believe that my tour manager certification was a major factor in my hiring. It is nice to know that I now have my “first job,” and it is actually in the travel industry."
Jim McIntosh, is now in his thirteenth season with Globus family of brands and reports "I am forever grateful for the chance I was given there for a second career."
Kristi Allred, Arizona, has worked for Rocky Mountain Connections. Her recent co-ordination of a convention group included local motorcoach and walking tours. As part of her job, she hired IGA grads to perform these tours. They were: Ed Tezak, Leo McGinnis, Gaye Buzbee Jacobs, Dr. Jack Murphy, and Frank Slater.
Lowell "Lucky" and Susie Cary, Wyoming, were hired as Tour Managers within days of graduation. They report that "Our training at IGA certainly came in handy and our employers were most happy with our qualifications and expertise. We managed a promotional campaign for a NASCAR team." Susie and Lucky traveled all over the western U.S. promoting the race team's sponsor. "We enjoyed our experience at IGA. We are proud to tell people about our experience and feel enriched by the experience."
Charlotte Dodgson, received her first assignments within weeks of graduation. She completed tours such as the National Park Tour for Vantage Tours, Wyoming Trails for Montana Rockies Rail Tours, and guide work in Colorado for Around and About and in Washington, DC for ETS, Corporation. Charlotte also does volunteer work with tours at Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado, State Capital Building in Sacramento, California and Castlewood Canyon State Park in Colorado. She is a member of the International Association of Tour Managers, Rocky Mountain Guide Association, Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs and the US National Park Association.
Bonnie Mealy, inputted "I thought I'd let you know I just completed my first Tour Director assignment for a tour company out of Maine -- Tourco. My assignment was a 9-day New England tour with mostly British folks. It was a spectacular experience! I did as you suggested in class. I want you to know how much your class prepared me for this new career. I don't know if I'd have been as effective...and experienced if I'd not taken your class. "
John Niedoborski, spent 2 years full time with Maritz Travel Company. John then began serving corporate clients through a variety of Travel Companies for over four more years. He has completed over 175 programs, and is getting booked a year in advance in some cases. He has also just formed his own business- Johnny Travels LLC.
Leo McGinnis, has been teaching the "Early Denver - 1858-1860" class to elementary students at the Colorado History Museum. He has been giving walking tours of Denver and the Lebanon Silver Mine in Georgetown provided by the Colorado Historical Society for elementary students. Leo just completed his first commercial tour in Denver for Rocky Mountain Connections.
Doris Reimers, has been hired by Montana Rockies Rail tours and will cover much of the northwest USA and parts of Canada.
Gaye Buzbee Jacobs, Colorado has received assignments from Kindred Spirits to lead tours and has worked for a number of other sightseeing companies.
Ed Kobylus, reports, “I wanted to let you know that I've landed my first contract. I'll be leading back-to-back tours through the Southwest (focusing on the National Parks). I'll be working for Adventure Travel West. With my interest in "active" travel, I couldn't imagine a better way to start this new career.”
Mark Thompson, reports that Royal Celebrity Tours is bringing him back again next season in the same capacity, helping with hiring and organizations. Mark writes “I just wanted to express my gratitude to you…your school was invaluable to me.” He also updates us with the news that he has been assigned to a second ship, the M/S Majesty with RCL.
Rhonda Davis, working as assistant Tour Director with Prudent Tours. Assignments include tours to Cheyenne Rodeo and the Rockies, Branson Christmas Extravaganza and she is scheduled for Spring in the Smokies.
Liz Harris, Florida, is working as a Tour Guide for Diva Ducks. Diva Ducks runs amphibious tours throughout the West Palm Beach area.
Mary Lou Cote, writes she has been “all over the world”. She worked in Hawaii for 4 months. Then was hired to work on the ship Universe Explorer. Mary Lou did Central America around the Panama Canal, then Alaska for 9 weeks. Following that off to Cuba, Brazil, Cape Town, India, Viet Name, Singapore, Korea, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tanzania, Russia, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. On the Universe Explorer she was working as a purser and has literally circled the globe 4 times.