Ted is an industry pioneer, thought leader and visionary. He helped develop the first state-approved school in the United States, designed specifically to train tour directors and tour guides. When he is not filling his role as primary instructor, he remains active as a tour director, leading thousands of people to all parts of the world. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science Degree from California Polytechnic University, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Marine Corps. Since 1970, he has been employed as a tour director and consultant for some of the most respected tour companies in America. A distinguished thought leader and expert, he has been a frequent speaker at industry events, featured in many magazines and newspapers and been a guest on countless television and radio programs.
Bill worked in the field of travel for 40 years. His experience included: travel agent, group tour planner-consultant, motorcoach operator, guide, driver-guide, and tour director. For years, he organized and led tours to Alaska, the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. Internationally, his specialties included Russia, Eastern Europe and South America. He wrote numerous articles on tour directing and about legal issues affecting the tour industry. He was a nationally recognized lecturer and conducted seminars at nine National Tour Association Conventions. Dr. Newton held an MA. Degree in Sociology from U.C. Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Higher Education from U.C. Berkeley. Sadly, in 2002, Bill passed away doing what he loved, touring in South America.
ITMI was founded in 1976 by Ted Bravos and the late Bill Newton. At the time of ITMI’s inception, tour guiding in America was largely a part-time summer job for college students or teachers who had little or no training. In Europe, tour guiding had already developed as a profession with a formal education and certification, meeting the highest standards of quality.
As seasoned travellers, Ted and Bill observed the vast difference between the two industries and envisioned the concept for the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI): A North American school that would give tour guides and tour directors the knowledge, practical skills and real-world experience to safely and confidently lead tour groups domestically and around the world.
ITMI was born. Over the years, ITMI has evolved to meet the changing needs of the explosive tourism industry. ITMI continues to be actively involved with leading professional organizations including the National Tour Association (NTA), the American Bus Association (ABA) and Tourism Cares.