International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

Making the World a Better Place Through Travel


ITMI Quick Facts

Founded . . . . . . . .
1976 in San Francisco, CA
Founders . . . . . . . .
• Ted Bravos, CTP
• William Newton, Ph.D.
Office . . . . . . . .
14 West Pier
Sausalito, CA 94965
Classes . . . . . . . .
• Tour Guide / Tour Director
• Custom Training Programs
• Driver Training
Class Structure . . . . . . . .
40% in-class teaching
60% in-field workshops
Class size . . . . . . . .
25 - 30 students
Alumni . . . . . . . . 
8,000+ worldwide
Placement . . . . . . . .
92% job placement

Our Commitment

Education: Receive individual coaching from experienced role models and mentors who are all active tour directors. The ITMI faculty provide you real-world, hands-on, practical applications in both the classroom and in the field. You will learn everything you need to know to begin living your dream as a tour director or guide.

Partnership: Over 8,000 alumni have built our reputation. Your success is our success. Our partnership with you extends for the life of your career and far beyond our job placement assistance, including access to the exclusive ITMI Alumni Portal for news and tools to help you to become more successful.

Community: You have now joined the world's largest network of Professional Tour Directors and Guides. Follow your colleagues via ITMI’s Facebook page, LinkedIn and Twitter and more to network, discuss issues and share your stories! Each year after graduation you are eligible to attend our 5-day Annual ITMI Symposium and Reunion, for continuing education, destination knowledge, networking opportunities with your colleagues and employment opportunities with a wide variety of ITMI Tour Operator partners.

Outreach: As tour directors and guides you make a difference by creating cultural bridges of understanding everyday. You are Ambassadors of Goodwill. In Outreach we want to detail your efforts thru inspirational stories in your various roles as stewards of the environment and how you give back to your local community, help you generate awareness of issues affecting our global community and acknowledge your efforts to better our world.  #ITMIMakesADifference  


Is Tour Guiding or Tour Directing Right for Me?

ITMI Alumni Korie, Carol & George tour directing in Arches National Park

ITMI Alumni Korie, Carol & George tour directing in Arches National Park

Successful tour directors and tour guides tend to: 

  • Like people
  • Be excellent communicators
  • Be bored by routine and tired of a cubicle
  • Love to travel and experience new adventures
  • Have a strong sense of independence
  • Be creative and flexible
  • Have the ability to take charge and be responsible
  • Possess a good measure of common sense
  • Be just plain fun to be around
  • Want to make a difference in the world

Sound like you? If so, let’s talk! 

Once you apply to the International Tour Management Institute, we’ll schedule a no-obligations interview to learn more about each other and answer your questions about tour directing and us. Out of the large number of applicants who apply to ITMI, only a select few (20-25 students per class) are invited to attend our training program. 


The most successful applicants are mature, interested and skilled in working with groups of people, and love traveling. ITMI’s goal is to equip you with the tools, individual attention, and direction you need to become a successful tour guide or tour director.

Think you’re too young or too old? To ITMI, your desire to make a difference in the world as an ambassador of goodwill is far more important than your age! You are not alone in wanting to travel and make a difference. You are important and your dreams are valued here. 

What Does a Tour Guide or Tour Director Do?

Tour guiding and tour directing are dream careers that many people would love to have. What’s not to love about visiting exotic places and having once-in-a-lifetime experiences daily while making a great living? When people go on tours, they experience joy and fulfillment in their purest forms. Tour guides and tour directors connect with guests in deep, meaningful ways, and those guests recount those experiences for the rest of their lives. Likewise, all tour guides and tour directors have amazing stories of cherished moments with their guests on tour.

Tour guide vs. tour director

A tour guide may conduct walking tours, food & wine tours, regularly scheduled tours, and many more types. Tour guides provide local expertise and bring their cities to life! They may also work as travel staffers with local conventions and incentive travel bureaus. Some guides prefer to work only within their city, so they can do what they love and still go home at night to their family and friends.

Tour directors lead groups over the road. They’re also known as tour managers, adventure guides, course leaders, and tour escorts. They travel with the group throughout the tour, managing the details and enjoying the amazing sights and experiences. They may do this relatively close to home or halfway across the world – it all depends on the assignment. There are opportunities available to suit all preferences.

itmi tour guide certification

Do I have to choose between working as a tour guide or tour director?

No, not at all. Most graduates do both and enjoy a balance of home and away. The rewards of working as a tour guide or tour director are beyond measure. Making a difference in the world and in the lives of the people with whom you travel is mutually beneficial. Tour guides and tour directors educate and inspire their guests to discover new perspectives. They create bridges of understanding between people and cultures.  

It’s time to bridge the gap between your passion and your career. Learn more about our 15-day Tour Guide / Director Certification Program. Ready to take the next step? Apply to ITMI today!

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