The WFTGA ExBo 2024 – 2026

In the constitutive session of the Executive Board, in accordance with the WFTGA Constitution we, as Executive Board, have elected the Vice President, the Secretary and appointed the Head of the Training Division.



President: Sebastian Frankenberger

Sebastian Frankenberger brings over 20 years of extensive experience in tourism, particularly as a guide and trainer. He has been a guide in Passau since 2003 and in Austria since 2007. In his role as industry spokesperson at the Austrian Chamber of Commerce, he has been deeply involved in advocating for guides and training numerous future guides. Since 2017, Sebastian has been active in the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (WFTGA), where he is primarily responsible for the technology behind live streams and the website. His expertise and dedication have significantly contributed to the professionalization and advancement of the industry. Currently, Sebastian continues to work as a guide in Vienna, while also frequently engaging as a consultant and keynote speaker.

WhatsApp: +43 676 9179366
Email: [email protected]



Vice President: Cristina Leal

Cristina Leal is a certified Tourist Guide and Tour Manager since 1981. In her capacity as Tourist Guide she works throughout the Portuguese territory and as a Tour Manager she has travelled the world. Between 1998 and 2013 she dedicated time to training driver-guides in the Lisbon School for Tourism and the Hotel Industry. She’s at the moment a co-opted member of the Estoril Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Studies’ general council.  Between 2013 and 2021 she was the president of the Portuguese Association of Tourist Guides and Tour Members, occupying at the moment the position of head of training in the same organisation. Cristina became a WFTGA National Trainer in 2017 and was an area representative for the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries between 2017 and 2024.



Secretary: Ivana Ćuruvija

Ivana possesses extensive expertise spanning over 25 years in tourism, encompassing roles in professional training, sales, management, tourist guiding, and education. With a background as a Tourist Guide and Sales Manager, she furthered her career by acquiring a Master’s degree and PhD in Tourism, transitioning into teaching. Her journey led her to become a WFTGA Lead International Trainer, delivering training globally and contributing to the development of by-laws for local tourist guides in multiple countries. Ivana’s dedication to training excellence extended to collaborations with international organisations such as UNWTO, UNESCO, and USAID. Currently, she leverages her wealth of experience in tourism and training as a consultant and lead tourist guide trainer with Qatar Tourism, adding value to the industry in Doha.



Treasurer: Juan Ignacio Vazquez

Born in San Sebastián in the Basque Country, Ignacio has been a tourist guide for over 30 years. He now lives in Toledo, Spain’s Imperial capital, guiding visitors in various languages. Ignacio held various positions in local and national Tourist Guide Associations and has been the treasurer of the Spanish National Confederation of Tourist Guide Associations (CEFAPIT) for the last 12 years. He was unanimously elected as the WFTGA Treasurer at the convention in Sicily, after serving in this role in a co-opted capacity for 2 years. Ignacio is committed to fulfilling his responsibilities with the financial committee’s help, ensuring transparency and maintaining trust.



Head of WFTGA Training Division: Viola Lewis

Viola is an active Blue Badge Tourist Guide for Scotland. Originally from Germany, she has lived in Glasgow for over 30 years now. After university, she worked for a European Commission Programme, which instilled a strong capacity building ethos in her. Since qualifying with the Scottish Tourist Guides Association in 2002, she has served on various committees and as Training Manager, shaping tourist guide training and accreditation policies. She continued this work with the European Federation of Tourist Guides Associations and now WFTGA. She advocates for Tourism for All, sustainable tourism, and value-based heritage interpretation inspired by UNESCO.



James Saunders

James has been working in the tourism industry his whole life. He is second generation.   With Toronto being his base, he served 3 terms as President of Tourist Guide Association of Toronto (TGAT). Before joining the WFTGA ExBo in 2022 James was an Area Representative. His current portfolios on the ExBo cover Social Media and Events. He is also the non-trainer member on the WFTGA Training Committee. James says: ‘I am on the ExBo to help You.’



Kapi Panou

Born in Thessaloniki, Greece Kapi is a highly qualified tourist guide and member of the World Federation of Tourist Guides’ Associations (WFTGA) Group of Lead International Trainers. She has a long experience in group and private guiding all over Greece.  A university graduate (Philosophical School) and, currently, a trainer in the School of Guides, Athens, she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm either with the most demanding “study” groups or travellers who look for a comprehensive and thorough interpretation of the secrets of the Greek cultural heritage and contemporary life.   Being aware of the special approaches required for young travellers, she also offers guided tours and visits customized to the needs of family trips. As a designer of Cruise Guiding Courses, the last ten years, she has been training tourist guides who are involved in the cruise industry both in Greece and in emerging countries like Saudi Arabia. As an experienced tourist guide, she is always at the disposal of the “world” traveller who appreciates the “art of guiding”.