Welcome to our new member – American Tour Guide Association
Interview with Paula Reynolds, President
Tell us your story. How did American Tour Guide Association get started?
American Tour Guide Association started with a vision to create experiences rather than itineraries. Spending many hours on the road with travellers, I realized people were seeking authentic experiences and not travel guides while visiting a destination. While people travel to see historic sites, the real impression was the heritage and culture of the people. Our societies are influenced by social media that often leads us to the improper representation of a culture. I personally have travelled to many countries and witnessed new cultures that opened my mind to new worlds. The foundation of American Tour Guide Association is a personal connection across the globe with memories that last forever.
What makes American Tour Guide Association different from your competitors?
The difference is that all Tour Directors must attend training every year in order to be certified. Our certification requires 52 hours of training each year. Most organizations have no training program at all. Our guides understand the importance of American hospitality and continuing education.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
My favorite success story was rerouting an international tour group during a major disaster. The great flood had arrived during a 21 day tour and our roads were washed out. I couldn’t reach my hotel due to all the damage. Within hours, I rerouted the group and found a hotel that was safe for everyone. The group felt confident in the hands of a professional!
What can we expect to see from American Tour Guide Association in the future?
Social Justice tours are developing for 2020 into human equality history in the USA. In the past, we focused on one topic. In the upcoming season, we have decided to combine several different themes into one tour. America has strong roots in the Women’s’ Suffrage, Civil Rights, and human equality movements. We invite you to journey with us to discover the brave men and women who dared to challenge a system that oppressed human beings for their own benefit. Our tours of discovery will enlighten you and encourage change for future generations.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
The trend I see in the future is guest speakers on tours. Youth want to hear the realities of life. They absorb personal experiences from others to compare their lives to the rest of the world. The purpose of education is to learn more about who you are and setting goals for the future. Youth are influenced by courageous people with powerful stories to tell.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with American Tour Guide Association?
Our company is very safety conscious. The training program covers evacuations, buddy systems, and Tour Director awareness. We believe in a safety briefing in every destination to ensure the health and safety of each traveller. The goal is to make each youth more aware of their surroundings to prevent any issues. Our Tour Directors are there for their safety.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
Our company was motivated to join WYSE to network with like minded tour operators/organisations that have a sincere interest in providing exceptional experiences for youth visiting the USA. Our goal is to provide high quality receptive services to ease the parent’s concerns about sending their children overseas. The reason you choose us is to have someone on the ground caring for your passengers.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? (WYSTC, STAY WYSE, WYSE Exchange Australia, WETM-IAC) If so, what was your experience with the event?
This is my first time attending WYSE Travel Confederation. I am excited about the opportunity to meet new friends in the industry. Hospitality professionals know how to eat well, find good wine, and enjoy life. My goal is to walk away with a new WYSE family!
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing currently?
Our organization is facing media challenges. The image of the USA is politics and negative impacts on our society. This is not the real America. The majority of our destinations are never published to visitors. We have so many great places for you to visit! Americans do not behave like politicians’ in the media. The American people are known for their hospitality. Everyone is welcome in the USA regardless of media impact.
American Tour Guide Association is a USA tour operator focusing on American history, heritage and culture.
Travellers will experience true American hospitality with organized activities and local experiences that create memories of a lifetime. Their tours focus on many themes such as space programs, immigrant history, nature, US Civil Rights, government and entertainment. All of the tours are customized to the groups interest and curriculum.
They also offer a unique language immersion program with visits to colleges while traveling to different locations. Each tour is provided with a certified American Tour Guide to manage the logistics and provided excellent customer service.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Associate Member
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