International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

Making the World a Better Place Through Travel

Julie Bass

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

ITMI graduation year: 2012

Travel bucket list: Fiji, South America,    Northern Europe

Tour essentials: Sense of adventure, sense of humor, a happy disposition

The tour director has the power to bring the people and the culture to life and to leave the visitors with a lasting memory.
Working with Tauck
retirement travel jobs

What or who inspired you to become a tour director?

I think I was born with a desire to travel.  My favorite things to play with as a child were my globe and my “children of the world” book.  I began traveling with my family when I was 8.  I always had my eye on the people working on the ships and speaking to us on the city tour buses.  I wondered how I could get a job doing that.

How do you balance your personal life with your travel career?

This is one of the great things about being a tour director.  I make my own schedule, and I make sure I keep it balanced.

What qualities do you feel make for a good tour director?

Patience, love for problem solving, and a strong desire to help others get what they want and need out of a vacation.

What advice would you give to a first-time traveler?

Go with someone who is familiar with the area.  Do your homework and pick a place that suits your needs.  Don’t believe the negative stereotypes you hear in the media about a place.  Go there and experience it for yourself.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

Fiji, South America, Northern Europe

What are three things you must always take with you?

Your sense of adventure, sense of humor and a happy disposition

If you could design your own customized tour to reflect your passions what would it look like?

 A cruise on our beautiful sailboat throughout the Caribbean, snorkeling, swimming, fine dining on board and ashore, learning how to sail if you wish and enjoying each of the island’s sights.    

Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and where you’d like to take them.

Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra and the countless other inspirational authors who encouraged me to go for my dreams.  I would take them on my custom Caribbean Tour as detailed above.

How has tour directing impacted your perspective of the world?

The world is small and getting smaller with each trip I take.  There is so much similarity from place to place.  People have more in common with each other than differences.

What advice would you give someone if they wanted to become a tour director or guide?

Start with the ITMI course.  You will make all the contacts you will ever need to be a success in this business.  You’ll have an ongoing support network.  Be persistent with your job search.  Be flexible and willing to go anywhere.  Believe in yourself and never let fear into your decision-making.       

Do you agree that a tour director is actually an ambassador of goodwill? If so, why?

Yes!  Quite often it is the guest’s first and only experience in this place.  The tour director has the power to bring the people and the culture to life and to leave the visitors with a lasting memory.  By finding the positive and accentuating the goodness in a place, its people and its history, visitors go back home and share this goodwill with others which in turn influences their perspective on this place.