Executive Board Election Nominations

WFTGA Introduces 2019 Convention Nominations Committee
Our Federation has seen great growth in the past two years - in membership and distinction - and the organization's need for qualified, committed leaders has become ever more important. Delegates to the 2019 convention will elect a new Executive Board to serve WFTGA until the closing ceremonies of the 2021 convention, and the process for Delegates is not always an easy one.
To avoid last minute complications as experienced at recent elections, an independent Nominations Committee has been assigned to organise the candidates in advance of the General Assembly. 
We are pleased to introduce the members of the WFTGA Nominations Committee who come from "four corners" of our membership. In addition to being geographically diverse, none on the committee will be standing for the 2019 election.
-Deborah Androus, from the U.S. is a WFTGA President Emeritus and WFTGA Lead International Trainer.
-Yoni Shapira hails from Israel and has experience with elections at Moreshet Derech.
-Koula Vassiliou from Cyprus served previously on EXBO.
-Jean Wang is a WFTGA Lead International Trainer who resides in Singapore.
-Esther Banike, a current Vice President of WFTGA is Committee Chair.
Some duties of the Nominations Committee include:

  • Communicating with eligible members to encourage participation
  • Advising duties / obligations of Executive Board positions
  • Explaining commitments of time and personal resources
  • Ensuring candidates meet requirements prescribed by the WFTGA Constitution (i.e. that they are an active and qualified tourist guide, and that their association's WFTGA membership dues are current)

Nominations communications will be managed through a dedicated email box at nominations@wftga.org.
Check WFTGA's website, FB pages, and emails from President Alushca Ritchie, or contact your local association leaders for detailed information about qualifying for Executive Board nomination.

EXBO Communications Corner

If I might play on the title of a recent hit movie, let me tell you about...
Those Culture-Rich Asians (of Singapore).
This year EXBO was offered sponsorship to attend Destination Asia Business Meet in Singapore. The event and similar meetings around the world allow our Federation to meet with exhibiting CVBs and Suppliers and explore destinations as potential locations for the WFTGA convention, among other tourism related business.  
Sometimes a meeting location is also home to a WFTGA Member Association and this provides EXBO an opportunity to spend some live "face time" with members. It isn't often that EXBO gets to see members other than at  convention - and convention is when EXBO is on duty 24/7, leaving limited time for visiting with members.
We try to combine official and personal travels with opportunities to be with members in their own areas.  Sometimes we help them with a problem, other times it is WFTGA who benefits from the one-on-one.
Until I arrived in Singapore 23 hours after departing my Chicago-area home, I had no idea if, or when, any members in Singapore would be free, so I felt honored when licensed Singapore tourist guides Jean Wang LIT and Jimmy Sim were able to meet me on short notice.  I'd met Jean before she became a WFTGA Lead International Trainer, and long before she and Jimmy traveled to Prague with a sizeable delegation from Singapore to present their bid for the 2017 convention (2017 was later hosted by Iran).
The temptation to write about the extraordinary sights and culture of Singapore is strong, but I'll resist for now and just share a photo Jimmy Sim took with the most Instagrammed place in the world in the background: The Marina Bay Sands Hotel, where Destination Asia Business Meet took place. (Photo of WFTGA Lead International Trainer Jean Wang and WFTGA EXBO Vice President Esther Banike by Jimmy Sim. Singapore Merlion and Gardens By the Bay photo credit to Wikipedia)
Now, you might think these hosted trips are all fun and games, but let me assure you each EXBO member thinks long and hard about whether to go.  In addition to missing paid work while away, advance "paperwork" takes up considerable time, appointment days begin early and meetings run until late, detailed post-meeting reports to EXBO are required upon return, out-of-pocket expenses occur, and follow-up emails continue for weeks afterward.  
On the plus side, quality time with first-class colleagues like Jean and Jimmy is priceless.  And it isn't everyday one gets to meet a Merlion, visit Gardens By the Bay, or taste hawkers Bak kut teh in the company of Singapore's experts.

Cultour Card Partners

promote to home page feature
WFTGA Cultour Card Partners

The WFTGA Cultour Card Partner Programme has received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from tourist guides' partners in the industry e.g. museums, attractions, historic sites. Cultour Card Partners give preferential access to WFTGA members who in return promote the partners' businesses to their visitors.

EXBO Communications Corner

One More Person.....One More Thing
The Power of.....YOU!
By Esther Banike, WFTGA Executive Board Vice President
WFTGA's Executive Board sponsor-paid participation at major tourism trade shows provides crucial research for future WFTGA conventions.  At the same time, we are able to connect exhibitors to our members and inform them about the value of qualified professional tourist guides - and sometimes they connect us to new tourist guide associations.  Important, because we are almost always the only tourist guides the exhibitors meet.  A future article will explore the road that leads to these events, but let us use just the "short story" for now.
In early September I traveled to Mexico City's ibtm latin america as a Hosted Buyer and met with numerous Latin American tourism authorities as well as representatives of airlines, hotels, tech products and Tour Operators/DMCs, from places where WFTGA has members or possibility to recruit new ones.
At most non-guide tourism events, EXBO provides the one voice to enlighten others about our Federation, our members, their professionalism, our convention, our Code of Ethics(Surveys show the number one reason people join professional associations is to be connected to a Code of Ethics.) We run into more and more people lately who have heard about WFTGA because one person did "one more thing".
In Mexico City, the hotel seemed to sway while I packed my bags to join a complementary post-tour to Northern Baja California (Mexico, actually) - not an unusual sensation for trade show attendees who have been on-the-go all day.  But when the hotel shook violently and hangars fell from the closet, I knew it was an earthquake! (Sadly, a smaller, but deadlier, Mexico City earthquake happened a week later.)
I promised you the "short story" but must cite how organized and hospitable the Baja folks were in Tijuana, Rosarita Beach and Ensenada.  I had not been to that area of Mexico in decades and marveled at the cutting edge architecture, remarkable new meeting facilities, awesome gastronomy and - at the center of the trip - wine country in the desert.  Wine country?!  EXBO's next convention will be in Georgia, a country synonymous with wine.
Coincidentally, Ensenada's Museo de La Vid y El Vino (Museum of Vine and Wine) begins with a display crowned by the words GEORGIA (pictured above).  This visit was one more opening to talk about WFTGA's 2019 convention in Tbilisi, GEORGIA - the birthplace of wine.
My return flight to Chicago left from San Diego, California USA, a 1-hour shuttle ride along the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway from Ensenada.  However, it can be a 3-hour experience to cross the Mexico/US border! 
I spent a few vacation days in San Diego at a hotel near historic Old San Diego.  Sirens shreeked at 2:00 A.M. on the first night!  Another quake? California is inclined to quake, and I evacuated to the lobby.  False alarm.  Strangely I was the only one to react; other guests asked me sleepily, "What's up," when I passed their doors heading back to my room.  
But while waiting in my pjs for an "all clear" signal in the lobby, I noticed two large screen TVs still running in the restaurant/bar area long after the facilities had closed.  I politely questioned this with the manager the next day and explained that UNWTO had declared 2017 as The Year of Sustainable Tourism and that we all have the power to do "one more thing".  Later I noticed maintenance workers changing the TVs to shut off when the restaurant/bar closes.  The manager will suggest the same for all their hotels.  Imagine how much of Earth's resources this will save -  all from the power of ..."one more person", doing "one more thing".  Please use the Power of...You to be "one more person" doing "one more thing"!
This article is the first in a new series of regular communications from your Executive Board.  We decided to publish these articles under the heading EXBO Communications Corner, though you might find them somewhere other than a corner position on the WFTGA website.  Responses should be posted on the WFTGA Facebook page.  WFTGA retains the right to remove inappropriate material.

Executive Board Communications Corner

How did someone from a little fishing, quarrying and dairy farming town south of Sydney, Australia, end up as the Head of Training for WFTGA? 


Steve grew up in a little town called Kiama, Australia, moved to Sydney to study pharmacy at university (Steve says he thought he would look good in a white coat) but instead became a high school Science Teacher, a biology specialist.


His main job now is as guide and senior trainer at the Sydney Opera House.  If this seems a strange place for a biologist, consider that he was once the Head of Education at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. Here, he trained the zoo’s guides – 400 of them, all volunteers, at two locations five hours drive from each other.


"Yes, it was a challenge, says Steve.


"But I also had the good luck to get up close with pandas, lion cubs and platypuses – and also to be dribbled/peed on by a baby giraffe while I was trying to bottle feed it."


Eventually Steve moved on and obtained a job at the Opera House as a Tourist Guide.  He's been there for 12 years and does all types of tours from regular “Roll ups”, to Backstage, to Specialist Tours for the blind and people who are disabled in other ways.


Steve's introduction to WFTGA came via his partner Peter Wagner, a WFTGA Lead International Trainer.   Courses taken at WFTGA's Cyprus International Training Center led to status as an International Trainer.  He was promoted to Lead International Trainer after fulfilling all the requirements for advancement.  Steve credits his voluntary service to help train Iranian guides in preparation for the Tehran convention as an important factor toward advances in his training career.


Since becoming a Lead International Trainer, Steve has trained guides in Saudi Arabia and Papua New Guinea - the latter one involved the site of an active volcano in Rabul.  (See photo of Steve - 2nd from right in white shirt - with course participants and volcano.)


"Training overseas can be a challenge but the positives far outweigh the negatives - meeting new people, experiencing new cultures, seeing new places and learning so many new pieces of information about these places. And mostly, having  the satisfaction of seeing so many new guides and new trainers with big smiles on their faces."


Being a member of WFTGA is still a real thrill to Steve.  He has attended conferences in Bali, Macau, Prague and Tehran  – and found them all very different and all very exciting.  At the last conference in Tehran, he stood successfully for election to ExBo and was immediately offered the Training Portfolio -  with little time to learn the job. 


"It was necessary to hit the ground running, but luckily I had the help of the Training Committee and ExBo.  The biggest challenge is juggling my own work with that of WFTGA.  After more than a year, I think I almost have it right."


Despite a very intensive schedule, he makes sure to have some free time.  He lives only ten minutes from a small marine reserve bay and beach and goes snorkelling almost every day.  

"Just a few days ago I swam through a school of about 1,000 garfish, the skinny ones with the pointy beaks. (Then I remembered I had just eaten them a couple of days before at a local restaurant.)"


He also loves theatre and feels lucky to work at the Opera House where he sees as many shows as possible, with Opera his favourite.


A couple of years ago he trained as an audio describer for people who have low vision or are blind. They come to the theatre and he communicates with them through a small earpiece and (very briefly between on-stage dialog) describes what is happening.


Steve has faced challenges he might have avoided had he decided to follow through on that white coat job, but not much can compare to the skills he gained through WFTGA and the excitement of a career in tourism and travel.


International Year for Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 garners support from the sector


The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector that contributes to the SDGs.

The Ministry of Tourism of Mexico, the German National Tourism Board, All Nippon Airways, the Global Tourism Economy Research Centre, Macao, China, the Balearic Islands Tourism Agency, Minube, Amadeus, the European Geoparks Network, The Travel Corporation and DDB are among the first sponsors to join UNWTO to support the programme of activities of the Year. The City of Zurich, the University of Crete, CABI and Green Key have also joined as “Friends” of the Year.

“The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, to be launched in January in Madrid, is a unique opportunity to raise awareness on the contribution of sustainable tourism to development among public and private sector decision-makers and the general public, while mobilizing all stakeholders to work together in making tourism a catalyst for positive change,” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.

The year will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas:

  1. Inclusive and sustainable economic growth
  2. Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction
  3. Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change
  4. Cultural values, diversity and heritage
  5. Mutual understanding, peace and security.

A full programme of activities will be unveiled on 18 January on the occasion of the Opening of the International Year.


More information:

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development

Join the Celebrations

Sponsorship opportunities



UNWTO Media Officer Rut Gomez Sobrino
Tel: (+34) 91 567 81 60 / rgomez@unwto.org
UNWTO Communications & Publications Programme
Tel: (+34) 91 567 8100 / Fax: +34 91 567 8218 / comm@UNWTO.org


Posted: 02/27/18

WFTGA at ICCA's 2017 Association Meetings Programme in Japan

More than 150 participants (associations, destination authorities and tourism  providers) from over 50 countries attended the 2017 ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) AMP in Fukuoka, Japan this June.  
WFTGA is a member of ICCA and our Vice President / Acting Secretary Esther Banike was a hosted guest and table discussion leader for the interactive "Slay Your Meetings Dragon" session that examined issues faced by associations, and a second discussion on meetings ethics.  EXBO will examine findings from those meetings and sessions and share them with the hosting committee for our 2019 International Convention in Tblisi, Republic of Georgia and bidders for our future conventions.
Established over 50 years ago, ICCA is the "Go To" organisation for international association meetings solutions, data, technical advice, and networking opportunities.  Over a 1,000 companies and organisations in 100 countries are members of ICCA. 
The ICCA session pictured here (with table host Esther on the right) was entitled "Slay Your Meetings Dragon".  Groups of participants moved between tables at given times, where each table's discussion centered around a meeting problem introduced by the table's host. 
Days for attendees at ICCA's 2017 AMP in Fukuoka Japan were busy with meetings, presentations and workshops, but Japanese culture topped the agenda at night, including one for participants to don Kimonos and eat sushi!

Guidelines Internetion@l November 2017

Newsletter File: 


WFTGA will run TRAIN THE TRAINER and INTERNATIONAL TRAIN THE TRAINER courses from 6th – 18th November 2017, at the WFTGA Cyprus International Training Centre, in collaboration with the University of Cyprus – Centre for Life Long Learning, Assessment and Development (K.EP.E.A.A.).
Cyprus Tourist Guides Association (CTGA) acts as the local organizer.  The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) supports the WFTGA Cyprus ITC training programme and CTO has been the main sponsor since 2006.  The A. G. Leventis Foundation is also a major sponsor.  Other sponsors that support the WFTGA Cyprus ITC training programme: Cyprus Antiquities Department, Nicosia Municipality, University of Cyprus, WFTGA and Cyprus Tourist Guides Association.
From 2006 through 2016, the WFTGA Cyprus International Training Centre successfully organised 10 training programmes in collaboration with the University of Cyprus.  More than 150 participants have been trained to date. 
Attendees came from all around the globe: Abu Dhabi, Albania, Antigua, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dubai, Egypt, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iran, Jamaica, Jordan, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Nepal, Poland, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, Thailand, the Netherlands, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and Uruguay.
For details of the 2017 courses and an application to join the programme, please read the WFTGA Cyprus Training Brochure 2017. Spaces are limited, and it is recommended that interested individuals download the WFTGA 2017 Cyprus Training Brochure and Registration Form without delay. 
About Cyprus, the training venue Destination
The Republic of Cyprus is an island state in the Eastern Mediterranean, full member of the European Union; also member of the United Nations and the British Commonwealth.
Due to its unique position – serving as a bridge between three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa – Cyprus has developed through the millennia a unique civilization that is reflected throughout its numerous archaeological treasures and historic sites, museums, art galleries, byzantine churches etc. Course participants will have the opportunity to learn more about Cyprus during the practical sessions, which will include city walking and coach tours as well as museum tours, in Nicosia - the capital of Cyprus - and during the visit/tour to Larnaca, one of the coastal towns of the island!
Participants will also have the opportunity to get acquainted with the renowned Cyprus hospitality, the friendliness of the local people and to also taste the delicious local food.
You can learn more about Cyprus and get information about the country by visiting the official portal of the Cyprus Tourism Organisation at http://www.visitcyprus.com. Travel Information for foreign visitors and regulations for Entry into the Republic of Cyprus (including visa regulations) may be found in the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus at http://www.mfa.gov.cy .

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