THE 2023 ITMI SYMPOSIUM COUNTDOWN IS ON –
WE WILL SEE YOU IN JUST 51 DAYS!
NOVEMBER 12 – 15
CHECK OUT ALL THE
TOUR OPERATORS WHO
WILL BE JOINING US AT
THIS YEAR’S SYMPOSIUM!
KNOW A GREAT CANDIDATE WHO’S LOOKING TO JOIN ITMI?
THE MORE YOU PAY IT FORWARD, THE MORE WE PAY YOU BACK
Refer someone to ITMI and we’ll give them $50 off their tuition.
Once they complete the Tour Director Course, we give you $200!
TOUR OPERATOR SPOTLIGHT
KRISTIN MANZOLI: DESTINATION AMERICA
My journey as a Tour Director started in October 2013 on a foggy day in San Francisco. After ITMI, Iwas fortunate enough to land a full-time gig with a great company which took me to some fantasticinternational locations, and I spent the year after that working for several tour operators domestically(student tours, performance groups, adult tours), which I also thoroughly enjoyed.
While I loved being a Tour Director, I knew I might not always want to be away from home, so Iapplied to an MBA program and started it that fall. The best part was that I could still lead trips duringschool breaks. Two years and two degrees later, I was fortunate enough to land an amazing role withDestination America, looking after our fantastic team of Travel Directors. My current role with DA asDirector of Operations oversees our tours for Trafalgar, Costsaver, Insight Vacations, and Luxury Goldin both the US and Canada, along with our Key Account trips.
I’m truly fortunate to work with such a wonderful team, and I do still very much enjoy getting out onthe road to run my favorite Trafalgar trip in the east once or twice a year! I remain in awe of theamazing connections I’ve made through ITMI and always look forward to welcoming newbies into theITMI family!
My husband, Nick, and I currently live near Annapolis, MD with our spoiled cat, Ollie. When we’re notworking, we enjoy doing anything outdoors!
A NOTE FROM TED
The Symposium has been nothing short of magical for decades! Devoted attendees speak of it with a smile on their face and nostalgia in their voice. It’s fun to hear the personal stories they love to share. Memories they hold for a lifetime!
Laughter, inspiration, unexpected connections-Symposium has it all.
Symposium has been the birthplace of ideas nobody thought possible and dreamsthat have become reality. Symposium has changed lives and created opportunities unimaginable.
ITMI Co-founder, the late Dr. Bill Newton would be so proud to see what our visionhas become, since it’s conception 47 years ago.
If you have not experienced Symposium before or have not joined us for years, youare in for a delightful surprise!
Thanks to your suggestions and support over the years, the new ITMI and ITMIGlobal came out of Covid better than ever! Our partnership with NTA TREX hasopened so many new doors for Tour Directors and Guides.
Symposium is so much more diverse and inclusive. We are excited to collaboratewith Trip School at this year’s event.
Don’t let another year slip by without gifting yourself this experience.
I would like to share part of an email I received today from Len Holmes, the former President of the San Francisco Tour Guide Guild.
He talked about a favorite Symposium speaker, Bill Caldwell, “who gavecomprehensive information on how tour directors and guides can take full advantageof the tax code.”
“Bottom line, when Bill prepared my tax return I saved enough on my taxes to morethan cover my cost for attending Symposium including a cross country air flight andstill be in the black!
Incidentally, Bill Caldwell is speaking again at the NTA TREX / ITMI Symposium. Come listen to Bill and hundreds of other travel and tourism thought leaders from around the world.
The stories, the camaraderie, the joy – that’s the magic of Symposium. You’ll create memories of a lifetime.
See you in Shreveport!
CEO / CO-FOUNDER
– DEAN JACKSON
SO I MARRIED A TOUR GUIDE BLOG SERIES
“Home, Home Again, I like to be there when I can. When I come home cold and tired, its good to warm my bones beside the fire…” Pink Floyd.
Whomever said you can never go home again was wrong. Here I sit, at the San Francisco Airport, ready to embark on a trip down memory lane. For the first time in 32 years, I’m going to the town where I grew up, Aspen Colorado.
While I rarely travel alone, preferring the company of my wife and private tour guide, Kyra, this trip is different. I, along with three of my childhood friends, wrote a collaborative memoir about growing up in a small town with big aspirations. Working class kids, in a town of millionaires, which would, in time, become a town of billionaires.
I’m going home again, to celebrate the book, see old friends, and do a book signing. While I’m only at the beginning of the physical journey, this trip home started long ago, when we decided to write about the town that shaped us. So I married a tour guide, but this time I’m going it alone.
Having gotten up at 4:30AM , in order to catch my Uber and avoid the San Francisco rush hour, I arrived at the airport at 6:15 and cleared security by 6:45. So far so good.
Having left the house so early, I resolved to find breakfast at the airport. The breakfast sandwich was delicious, the hash browns crispy, the coffee and orange juice eye opening, and the check breathtaking. $37 with the tip. This is the first instance in which my private tour guide whispered to me (in my mind, as she wasn’t there), that I should have been better prepared, and perhaps should have brought a snack. You see, preparation is her bread and butter, she needs to know all there is to know about San Francisco. Lack of preparation resulted in my egg and bacon sandwich. I’m not complaining, but I shouldn’t make it a habit.
“There is a second theme to this trip. I didn’t do any of the planning, I’m along for the ride. My friend and co-author, Andy, and our friend David, picked me up at the airport, so no need to book a ride. Dave drove us to the condo Andy had rented in Snowmass, so no need for me to book a room, and then to a party to honor the authors of the book, so no need to do any event planning.
The next morning Andy, Dave and I drove the back roads into town. The mountains against a clear, deep blue, sky. Dave turned on John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High,” and we had an impromptu singalong as we made our windy way into town. The meals and gatherings to follow over the next couple of days were mainly spontaneous adventures with the kids from out past, now the local adults holding down the fort while the billionaires frolic.
As the weekend ended and people returned to their post-celebration lives, I found myself alone. It was high time that I became my own tour guide. Was my once-home still recognizable? Would the most beautiful place on Earth (IMHO) still hold the majesty I remembered? I couldn’t leave without finding out.
Tour 1: The Mountains. Maroon Bells is, in my opinion, the most beautiful place on Earth. The snow capped peaks rise majestically over a clear mountain lake. The meadow, green and vibrant, slopes gently down to the glimmering water. Aspen trees and Evergreens blanket the
slopes. Just as I saw it in my youth, when we would drive up to the parking lot and picnic in the meadow before hiking the trails or fishing in the streams. Sometimes we would camp under the stars, or drink a six pack away from parent’s prying eyes.
As tourists continued to flock to lake in cars, and continued to picnic in the meadow, and pick the wild flowers, the once pristine area was showing some wear and tear. In order to preserve it,cement paths were poured, rope boundaries erected, and cars prohibited. Now one has to take a bus up to “The Bells” as locals continue to call it. This bus provides valuable commentary on the geographic history of the place, and the flora and fauna that inhabit it now. Tours of the lake and the surrounding woods are offered free of charge, and God sculpted peaks still lend grandeur to the skies. In quiet contemplation, I guided myself on a tour of the area, breathed in its beauty, and with a single tear, remembered. While I can no longer picnic in the meadow, the
trade off is worth it.
Tour 2: The Town. As I was driven into town I realized that my compass still worked. I was struck by the way I could remember where each turn was, I could remember what business or house resided on what corner. I found myself saying things like “wasn’t that where (insert business here) was?” This was usually followed by a friend answering “yes” or more rarely, “It’s still there!” As I wandered the outdoor public mall which I terrorized on bicycles and other tomfoolery in my youth, I found myself remembering the stores that occupied nearly every storefront back in the day. The red bricks and wooden benches were the same. While Prada may have found a home in Aspen, the home that I remember is still there, under the surface, and the people who remembered it with me keep it alive as more than a ghost.
As I close this current Aspen chapter, writing as I take in the mountain range from my friends’ yard, and awaiting a ride to the airport, I realize that, while a home may change, it can also remain. So I married a tour guide and I make my home with her.
BIO: Dean Jackson
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