International Guide Academy

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The International Guide Academy, Inc. (IGA) is recognized by the International Association of Tour Managers (London), the World Tourism Organization (Madrid), and the National Tour Association (Lexington, Kentucky, USA) and The Green Guide Alliance. The Academy has been written about in various newspapers throughout the world, recognized on the Job Monkey and Cruise Job Finders web sites as having an excellent training and free lifetime placement assistance program and was listed by Frommers as one of the "Top 100 addresses to have in the Tourism industry." This company is also approved and regulated by the Colorado Division of Private Occupational Schools, Department of Higher Education.

This company was founded in 1973 by Lynette Hinings-Marshall and its current president is Daniel Slater, President, who has 25 years' experience in international tourism, business, and education. In addition to Tour Manager, Tour Guide and motorcoach driver experience, he has owned and operated a tour company and a motorcoach company. His intimate knowledge of what makes a tour successful allows him to train graduates who are tour ready and able to handle every aspect of the job.

Frank M. Slater, Ph.D, is the CEO, and he has 50 years' experience in international tourism, corporate business travel and education. He has successfully trained International Tour Managers and Tour Guides worldwide, and his personal commitments and achievements have been recognized by leading authorities and companies throughout the world.

Company Background[edit]

The International Guide Academy, Inc. of Denver, Colorado, USA is worldwide recognized international training center specializing in training and certifying professional International Tour Managers and Tour Guides. The program was founded in 1973 by Lynette Hinings-Marshall in Australia, and then the programs were conducted in Hong Kong and later in London. The company has been in the USA since 1988 and in 2007 expanded to holding courses in Mexico. In 2009 they began conducting a program while at sea aboard one of the NCL ships. Now IGA continues its program availability, with courses throughout the USA (Denver, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, New England); Ottawa, Canada; Cuernavaca, Mexico, and aboard various NCL cruise ships (NCL Dawn for 2014).

The Academy instructors are all certified (CITM and/or CTG) in their respective fields and bring over 400 years of travel industry experience to the classroom. All of the instructors are International Guide Academy graduates and are currently employed as Tour Managers and/or Tour Guides, many owning their own companies. All have international experience. Most of the instructors have a Master's Degree or higher.

The concept of training and certification as an International Tour Manager or Tour Guide has been in place in many other parts of the world, for example: Israel, Italy, China, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, etc. There are a number of cities in the USA requiring certification/license for Tour Guides, such as: New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Charlotte, Savannah, Raleigh, New Orleans, and others.

What I like about this company, where I earned my certifications as a Tour Manager and a Tour Guide, is that after you earn your certification you receive free lifetime placement assistance.

There are two different courses and that is because the current hospitality industry standards, the professions of Tour Manager (Tour Director) and Tour Guide require different training, knowledge and certifications. IGA has been doing this for close to 40 years.

International tour manager/director course[edit]

This course is intended for you if you are seeking certification as a Tour Manager or Tour Director. People working as Tour Managers within the USA or other countries travel from city to city, state to state, country to country, with responsibilities for the smooth flow of a multi-day tour. Assignments can include motorcoach travel, cruise ship travel and trains. When I took this program I learned about Travel Industry Terminology, a look behind the scenes as to how tours are put together and marketed by Tour Operators, Industry Trends, Profile of a Tour Manager/Director and your Pre-tour Departure Preparations. After this foundation your program covers Public Speaking, Airline and Airport Procedures, Baggage Handling and Control, Client Welcome preparation, content and delivery, Hotel Arrivals and Departures, Motorcoach Commentary, Cultural Practices, How to Research, Leisure Days on Tour, City Tours (working with the local Tour Guide or doing it yourself), Motorcoach Travel, Destination Itinerary Planning, Discussion with a Motorcoach Driver and Teamwork, Optional Excursions (what they are, how to present them, operate them and money handling), when available a Tour Operator speaks with the class, Group Psychology, Passenger Emergencies, Industry Networking, preparing your resume, telephone interview techniques as well as Hiring Companies and their practices are identified. All graduates receive a book specially prepared for that specific class which covers Getting Hired, over 140 specific Tour Operators that are looking to hire IGA graduates plus Cruise Lines contact information. Throughout the program, the participants are video recorded with copies to each student, role playing, actual motorcoach travel is included and more. With IGA you learn by doing.

I also took the TOUR GUIDE CERTIFICATION COURSE and this course is intended for you if you want to work as a local Tour Guide. Tour Guides are knowledgeable within a specific locality such as a city, region, state or a specific geographic area. They provide walking tours, step-on guide service, local driver guide, on-site tours and may work special events, "meet and greets", etc. They are rarely away from home overnight. This course used to be conducted over a 4 week period in the evenings but now since 2010 it is held during the day and over a 5 day period.

Their web site clearly offers referrals, industry recommendations and a clear description of what a Tour Director and a Tour Guide are.

A Tour Manager is also called a Tour Director and in some parts of the world an Escort or Courier. Tour Operators hire Tour Managers (or Tour Directors) whose responsibilities are varied and comprehensive. Tour Managers travel with the group that has been organized by the Tour Operator. They stay at the same hotels, eat the same meals, go on the optional excursions, etc. They are responsible for the daily activities and to insure that what the passengers have paid for happens in a manner that is acceptable to the passengers and that the passengers have the "vacation of a lifetime." The International Tour Manager program covers both domestic and international tours. If you want to be a Tour Manager, whether working in the USA or other countries, that is the course to take. This is what 90% of our students take.

A Tour Guide provides local expertise and does walking tours, step-on motorcoach narration in their city, meets and greets at an airport, work at seminars and conventions, etc. They are hired by Destination Management Companies. Another way of looking at it is that Tour Guides are rarely away from home at night while Tour Managers travel with the groups and are away from home.

Tour Operators, Cruise Lines, Motor Coach companies, and Meeting Planning Companies hire the IGA Certified International Tour Managers. Destination Management Companies, Visitors Bureaus, Tour Guiding Companies, Event Planners, and Hotels hire the IGA Certified Tour Guides.