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Home Editorials from the Chair
Guiding Industry Editorials





Ms. Carole Seidelman, 345 W 58th St., Apt. 3-A

Phone: 1 646 338 7219 Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



nr.1, 2012


Dear Colleagues:


It is already June, and I hope this newsletter finds you busy, or with a desired respite!


There is much to tell you, I don't know where to begin. But let's start with OUR BIRTHDAY.


We, IATM, turned 50 this year, and our GOLDEN CONVENTION in Lisbon was great fun--we are sorry not to have seen more of you. You can read about the fabulous palace visits, the VIP dinner in the castle on the hill, and more details in the Bulletin from IATM Central Office, London, already e-mailed to you.


The pre-Congress tour to Northern Portugal was a big success, and the guide for the pre tour, Helena, also graced us with her charm during the Congress as well. She gave an enlightening presentation on the state of Portugal, making sure that we understood that Portugal is not Greece....Both countries are magical. (On a personal note, I was astounded to learn how low the minimum wage is in Portugal).


The Tourism Ministry was happy to see us and gave us a hearty welcome. I was also thrilled to have such contacts again, to sit amongst colleagues and be a tourist among professionals! For me, it had been so long, fifteen years, since my last IATM Congress. I HIGHLY recommend them as well as the local meetings. They are truly a way for us to meet each other, explore an area and eat well in good company, and they are one of the best aspects of membership in our association.


There were, as you may have heard, some 'issues', just as there are questions now about the past and the future. There is no point in harping on what was. I can only start where I came in, and we want all of us to look forward! We all want to commend those who worked hard before us, and we have a new board, in fact the whole association has had three chairs in one year (Scott resigned, Signe took over and now Jayne Pagan, of the Pacific Region is our new Chairman of the Board).


However, our region is not without difficulties, and we will look at this later. The difficulties may have started with the loss of Jo Curran, who was a one person show. Such a situation has pluses and minuses. Jo’s energy and devotion were unparalleled.   AND, her service was in mostly pre digital computer times.   Most of what she did and how she did it, went with her on her ‘last big journey’, as she put it.   Scott stepped in, already Chair, and became disillusioned when the Golden Convention was not chosen in South America. He since has left the association, as you know, taking with him his website for the association, and the publishing of the newsletter, for which he was paying his wife.


There was also confusion about membership in 2011, as according to my predecessor, Jo would sent out membership cards BEFORE people had paid.   So the result was that during all of 2011, IATM Americas NEVER paid Central office for the members, and we don’t even know how many there were.


We also owe funds!   We have already paid half of the £1,600 back, and we still have the other half left.   We have under $2,400 with which to work right now! That is not a whole lot, but we’ll see what happens in the coming months….For this reason, we have not made a decision on a website, and the news bulletin will be less elaborate. About $150 has been spent on postage, photocopies, making labels, updating files, and about $250 was spent in Lisbon, including contributing to a fund for a gift for an important staff member (see below). OUR FUNDS are short, but this is not the first time. Hopefully, we can re- coup in the fall, with memberships and we might think of FUNDRAISING, both on a regional level, in some cases, and on an association level. IATM Americas, however, has elected to spend a little to do some PR and take care of some administrative costs! Whatever we spend is still considerably less than immediately prior.


The association is 50, at once MIDDLE AGED, yet at the same time, GOLDEN....How is an association at once in its GOLDEN years, with all that that implies: looking toward quiet times, pondering on past accomplishments, and MIDDLE AGED, at the same time? Middle age is a time of crossroads, of putting together years of experience and wisdom to go forward and set the path for those who come after.


This is the situation we face: at once chronologically not old, somehow, however, not quite sure what future generations want, or who they are. Looking at my own history, for example, when I joined IATM almost thirty years ago, I was on the younger side. Most other members were slightly older than me. We grew together, and what has happened is that IATM has mostly, but not exclusively, golden age or not too far from golden age, members! The most difficult hurdle facing us all, in my opinion, is not enough turnover in the association.

Is that because, in fact, the best tour directors and guides are not young? One is often better at 45 than at 25, in most of life's endeavours, and many of our tourists are not that young, either. So perhaps the match is right! Travel, especially the packaged and group travel market, sees mostly 35 yr olds, excepting student travel, which is a whole other arena. Is it that what we do attracts fewer younger people today than before? That could be a real possibility. In our field, experience is a good thing, life experience alone adds to what one can give to the field. This is food for thought, and hopefully, there will ensue dialogue.

IATM has been the beacon of tour associations, and is a FIRST class group, no matter how you cut the cake! We are a knowledgeable and capable group!! Just belonging to IATM is an honour in itself, and if one is in IATM, already a certain standard has been acquired. We know when we talk to each other, that we all speak the same language.


We may be witnessing some fragmentation at this point. What do we mean here? We mean that there seem to be so many local guiding associations, especially in our region, that sap up our membership! We, IATM Americas have a huge geographical reach, we encompass a whole continent and we are dispersed across thousands of miles. We cannot just all 'get together' at the pub down the road or downstate. In the UK, members of IATM can easily get together, almost everybody is nearby. In our region, it clearly is appealing to join an association in Denver, or Toronto, or Washington, or SF, or Florida. Funnily enough, it is through the efforts of IATM members way back when that a good number of these guiding associations exist today.

What we want to keep in mind is that whereas local guide associations may have some tour directors, WE HAVE BOTH! We are local and transnational, and or international, as I have noted previously. We must be aware at this time to keep ourselves aware of the differences between 'guiding' and 'tour directing, tour managing, tour escorting' (There is more to be said about this point). This is one of the issues facing the industry and the association right now.


How can we all best stay in touch with each other? How can those on the West Coast stay in touch with those on the East Coast, or in the South, or in Canada, and there, too, there is East and West and Quebec and non-Quebec (!). Can we have meetings? Will we attend?


IATM would like to see the Americas Region host either the CONGRESS in 2014 or the INTERNATIONAL WEEKEND in 2015!   THIS WOULD be great. To do so, we need to have our region ON ITS FEET, up and going! MANY of you have inquired about a meeting this year, and the PERFECT time would be right before the DUBLIN weekend this January! That way, we could even leave together from the East Coast.   One of our current goals is to have more participation at meetings from our region. Your presence would be so very welcome—for you to have a chance to meet colleagues from the association outside of our region, and even from within our region, and to reap the most from your membership!  

We also would like, in fact, to see more members, of course, and more members from all of the Region…..


ON this note here is a good time to once again meet your current AMERICAS REGION Board:


CA SEIDELMAN, Chair e mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ,

Frederick VERKEMPINCK Vice Chair e mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

James SAUNDERS Treasurer. E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Secretary is open…..Elaine PHILLIPS is assisting with PR and Canada


And in London, for IATM Central,

397 Walworth Rd

London, SE 17 2AW England

Tel: 020-7703 9154

Fax: 020-7703 0358   e mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

CENTRAL OFFICE is run by RON JULIAN, General Manager

Joanna Pilinska is membership Secretary, Asia assists


IATM Hon. Pres: Simon Ackroyd (BR)

IATM Board of Directors: Jayne Pagan, Chair, of IATM and of the Pacific Region

Uri Riklin, Treasurer, Israel Region

Colleen Main, CTM, Secretary, BR)

CA Seidelman, AM

Slyvia D’Amato, CER

Fernando Aversa, CTM, IT

Anne-Grethe Ottesen, NOR

Country chairs (not enough members to be a region); BEL, Georges van Houtryve; FR, Gerard Venet, NETHERLANDS, Mustafa Arikan; POR, Carlos Carvalho; SP, Bozo Fistanic;TAIWAN, J.Y. Shian,

Allied Counselor, Allison MEYER


SILVER BIRTHDAY! Ron Julian has just been honored for TWENTY FIVE years of dedicated service to IATM !We are endebted to him for keeping Central Office on track, for keeping all the regions up to date, and for being committed and selfless, cutting his own salary in tough times.   IATM is truly thankful for Ron’s service, and are sorry there won’t be another twenty five years!


Ron was offered a travel ticket to Denmark with his wife, who is Danish! They should be there now, as you read this bulletin!   Thanks to Jayne Pagan, our new Chair, and Colleen Main from the UK, for organizing Ron’s gift!!


The Digital directory has been updated, and you will find all our members’ (hopefully correct) information! Our Region is current, and corrections and omissions have been amended! We also want to WELCOME AFFLIATE Member, Roxanne SNEL 15749 Sandtrap, Morrison, Colorado 80465 tet: 1 303 697 1746 , e mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Let’s keep in mind each bringing one member on board. As of Sept, membership is paid once and is good through 2013!


We absolutely want to increase our membership. I have a list with at least 20 names of colleagues, some of whom have been members before. If you would like to know some of the names, give me a hoot and we can discuss how best to reach out to potential members! If you have any ideas on membership and on fundraising, also send them through. (Regarding members, see the discussion at the end of the bulletin under AFFAIRS and DATES).

And now, let’s get started with some articles.

Firstly, I wanted to share something with you, something we all know or knew somewhere, instinctively, and something that pertains to what we a lot of us do…As I am never sure about copyright, here is part of an article on BILINGUALISM that appeared in the NYTimes on March 17 of this year.   If you Google and look under the word, Bilingualism, in the Times archives, you will find at least one article per year, if not more.

Charles Berlitz, who founded the Berlitz language schools, used to say that speaking more than one language is like having more than window to look out of.   One has an advantage, and a broader point of view, no doubt. Here is an excerpt of an article by a ‘New York Times’ journalist that appeared in March of this year. Her name must be Judith in Hindu, I think.   What this article tells us is that people who speak more than one language may be more in tuned with what is going on around them, be quicker at solving problems and stay saner longer in old age….However, although perhaps some multi lingual tour directors and guides MAY have honed in people skills, there are situations at times that no one can master, and dementia may come on earlier, anyway, from having to deal with all the tourists!! Ha ha ….Happy Reading, there are a variety of topics covered,  

                                           Carole Anne


Greeting and salutations fellow travel professionals. It is with mixed emotions that I write this, my last editorial for IATM. After writing over 50 articles, attending over 20 meetings, delivering 4 lectures and creating 2 websites with 8 electronic newsletters this year alone, I am retiring from IATM in order to spend more time with my family, seriously. Often this phrase is a euphemism for “I am out of here and I do not want to tell you why”. But in my case, it is true. Many of you know that I recently got married to the loveliest woman in the world. I celebrated this in grand style by skydiving like James Bond into our beach wedding. So my attention is now squarely on growing my family and growing my company, The Travels.

The amount of time the Chairman must devote to IATM is tremendous. On average it is hundreds of hours a year, and this does not include meetings. This is a lot to ask for a position with no pay. The only benefit is that if there is enough money, the trips to the Board meetings may be subsidized. But even in that regard, I often paid my own way to get to IATM board meetings and constantly stayed in Youth Hostels instead of the hotel with the other Board members.

Half of your dues go to fund the London office. The rest is split between the newsletter and travel for the Chairman. I have often proposed saving money by ceasing to publish a hard copy of the newsletter. It is easy to have a monthly or quarterly newsletter delivered to all of you by email, but many of you love the feel of receiving a hard copy in the mail. This year I did both. I demonstrated how the online format links you to more information and in a timelier manner. I subsequently also printed out all the articles at a later date and sent them to those of you that desired to have a hard copy sent to you. Included in the ballot is that same question for 2012. Do you want to receive a hard copy of the newsletter? My advice is to drop it because we cannot afford it. But I pose the option to you, since it is your money that pays for it.

I have tried a couple of other ideas for gaining members in my tenure as Chairman. I have created 3 different brochures and sent them to Tour Operators and to Colleges that have a tourism department. Over 1000 companies and teachers received our information and then hopefully passed the information on to the tens of thousands of Tour Managers and students. The response yielded few new members. I declare that it was far too much work for such dismal results.

I have created our website TourManager.org. Though this alone has taken hundreds of hours over the years, I could have spent more time on it. I have taught myself to be a professional web designer so if there was a function or tool that you wanted for the website; I could have created it for you. The sad truth is that most of you have never signed in to the website. I even took the extraordinary step of creating a profile for every member. But I know who and when everyone has signed in. I will summerize it to say that most of our members are not proactive in their internet activities. Since I own and run the website, its future is uncertain. The association lacks the funds to create a new one or even to pay me to act as the webmaster.

I have also created a third website, GreenGuideAlliance.com. Partnering with the London office of IATM, I have tried to get Tour Guides (from Tourist Guides to Tour Managers) to sign up in declaration that they will think green whilst on tour. Dr Frank Slater also promoted the Green Guide Alliance to his students of the International Guide Academy. I am sorry to say that this endeavor has also fallen sadly short of expectations. I point this out in recognition that it is much more then knowledge, ingenuity and perseverance needed to succeed in growing our membership of IATM.

There are unrecognized reasons why IATM is losing members. To recognize, adapt and overcome these reasons may prove to be the next Chairman’s most daunting task. We have two brave souls that have chosen to take up the gauntlet, Carol-Anne Seidelman and Frank Slater. Both are well experienced and receive my blessing. But in the words of George Washington “I am fairly out, and you are fairly in. See which of us will be the happiest.”

On an inspirational note, IATM is an amazing association. Together we can achieve anything. Our members, you, make up the best that the industry has to offer. We have established a real and virtual framework that has stood the test of time. Our limits are controlled by your involvement. 2012 may well prove to be a determining factor for the future of IATM. Live the dream of IATM and together we can tour the life fantastic.

Scott Mac Scott CTM


IATM Americas


The New Breed of City Tour Guides

smartphone guide

Tour Guides have a lot to complain about. Whether it is the accessibility to safe legal convenient pick up/ drop off areas, unlicensed Guides working without consequences, or a respectable minimum rate of pay that is adhered to by all, you can find Guides sharing their thoughts and planning on how to solve the complaints.

It is interesting to note that one of the direst topics is not getting much press. Are local Guides becoming obsolete? I am not talking about the old debate of Tour Managers doing the job of a local Guide. I am talking about something that can have a much greater impact on the Guiding landscape. Electronic Guides.

Today’s city guide apps for smartphones are gaining in popularity as smartphone usage grows. They are cheaper than a live Tour Guide. They pause when we want to take a photo. They will endlessly repeat themselves if we did not hear the commentary over the horns of traffic. They are never overbooked and are available exactly when the clients want the information.

Imagine if you, as a Guide, had to compete with someone who had those characteristics. It is obvious that we would be seen as inferior. But since this competitor is a collection of computer programs we maintain the one key advantage, we are alive. Nothing can beat a live, entertaining, knowledgeable, professional local Guide showing you around his or her beloved city. Or can it?

Today’s electronic city guides are GPS based and automatically tell you all about your current location. They enable you to see and save a map of your tour, add photos, travel videos and notes. All of this can then be immediately shared with friends via social media. You can also plan out your own customized tour based upon your fitness level, specific dates, and interests or download one of the growing number of quality tours directly to your iPad. If you have a question that is not part of your electronic tour, you can pause it, then Google your question. Do you want recommendations as to which cafe in the square has the best cappuccino? Of course you can ask your live Tour Guide. Otherwise an online café search will yield ratings with comments left by your fellow travelers. Did I mention that such a search may also yield coupons or special offers?

An electronic city guide is another avenue to satisfy a travelers hunger for knowledge. These apps are increasingly becoming integrated with the mechanics of traveling. Today, if we want to know a train schedule, or opening time of a museum, or what are the museums special exhibits, we turn to our smart phones. So it is natural that an industry has sprung up to help guide the modern traveler. One interesting part of this new industry is that some of the best touring apps are tours created by those professionals with the best knowledge, namely, local Guides.

There are many opportunities that can come about from Guides sharing their knowledge to create a City Guide app. These range from commissions to branding rights. Local Guides might make a few hundred dollars touring a group while simultaneously earning another few hundred or thousand from the download commissions of all those travelers touring around listening to them on an iPhone. When all cities have guiding apps, then the competition over which app is better for the consumer really heats up. App providers may tout the credentials of the creator of the tour, with links to the Tour Guide’s site. Or apps may find their information from local university professors or armchair Tour Guides. Hundreds of thousands of these tours are already being downloaded monthly in cities around the world. This will only increase as the city guide app industry evolves and further integrates itself into the hand, mind and pockets of travelers. What role does the professional Tour Guide play in this growing industry? Will the Tour Guides of the future be complaining that the information in the apps came from amateurs? Or will we use our share our knowledge and see this as a revenue making opportunity?

If you do not know what is coming, then you are destined to react to the effects of a situation. My advice is to understand how the competitive landscape is changing and plan for your personal success. This is just one small topic being covered in my lecture "Guiding in the Digital Age". If you cannot make it to the World Guide Summit to hear it live, you can of course watch the video of my lecture on your smart phone. But be forewarned, I will only be answering questions from those in attendance. There still is a benefit to interacting to a live Guide.

Scott MacScott is the Chairman of the International Association of Tour Managers – Americas and a featured lecturer at the World Guide Summit, Oct 17-24, 2011 Quito Ecuador.



Dear collegues; Greetings and salutations.

The global recession may be persistant but there are hotspots of travel. Countries are looking for ways to attract these eager travelers. One of the easiest ways to allow more people into the country is to make the visa procedure more user friendly. The US Travel Association, believes that "recapturing America's historic share of worldwide overseas travel would create up to 1.3 million U.S. jobs by 2020 compared with 2010 and produce $859 billion in cumulative additional economic output." Ideas like this are taking off as Countries that have a surplus of visa applicants endure the hurdles to travel.

The "China is a long wait for US visas" article describes that the Chinese leisure travelers spend more than the average traveler. In response, Missions and Consulates around the world are hiring more workers to process the Visa backload. The USA is no different as we increase staff to handle the 234% rise in approved visas from Brazil over the past 5 years. In 2010, international travel to the USA enjoyed a general increase of 9% and 12% for the business traveler. With forcasts of a "7% rise through 2016", there is evidence that the travel industry offers great opportunities for Guides of all types.

Are you working in one of these global hotspots?. Are you looking to work more or to make more while working less?. Are you interested in learning where more opportunities are availing themselves?. Then come to the World Guide Summit. This is the type of information that we provide for todays Professional Guide.

I am most happy to be able to tell you that the World Guide Summit going to be that “not to be missed meeting” for all Guides that are interested in increasing their professionalism. Here are just a few reasons to go:

  • We have training on how to expand your business and break into new markets.
  • We have back office training in finances and the internet including the latest trends in Social Media.
  • We have training in conducting tours.
  • We have training in the Ecuadorian and South American market.
  • We analyze current trends to discover opportunities and reduce risk to our flow of work.
  • We are a great networking opportunity because we are targeting the more professional Guides of the industry.

Spaces are going quickly. If you need a roommate, we may be able to help as we have many roommate requests. IATM Americas members attending our AGM will be roomed with fellow IATM Americas as first request. Let us know if you prefer to be roomed with someone from your Association.

Take care and enjoy,

Scott MacScott CTM


IATM Americas

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