International Tour Management Institute (ITMI)

The Premier Training Institute for Tour & Travel Professionals Since 1976

Making the World a Better Place Through Travel


Nancy Rios

Hometown: San Francisco, California

ITMI graduation year: 2011

Travel bucket list: Turkey (Istanbul, Anatolia and the Black Sea, especially), the French Malabar Coast of India (Karala)

Tour essentials: Lozenger, a good paper-map of the area (GPS is not always accurate) and my i-Phone

Open up your heart to explore and take risks getting to know others, while learning about their history, culture, and places. People will amaze you and the wonder of the discovery will never cease.
Bryce, Utah
Telluride Film Festival, Colorado
Los Angeles, California
Puerto Rico
 

What or who inspired you to become a tour director?

It was my desire to delight others with service and to understand the world beyond my local surroundings.

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

Carefully with a great dose of yoga, yogurt and Vitamin B, I balance the personal with social – lots of good sleep and reading while still maintaining my connection with those who are important in my life.

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

A genuine like for people, and a desired to make travelers feel they are the most important thing when I am with them. Graciousness and warmth is my M.O. (modus-operandi). A little love goes a long way when traveling with strangers!

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

“Slow down-smell the roses” so to speak; leave your preconceptions and pre-notions behind at home. Open up your heart to explore and take risks getting to know others, while learning about their history, culture, and places. People will amaze you and the wonder of the discovery will never cease.

What destinations are on your travel bucket list?

I dream of seeing Turkey (Istanbul, Anatolia and the Black Sea, especially).  Also, the French Malabar Coast of India (Karala) with its Christian communities that date back  2000 years.

What are three things you must always take with you?

Lozenger, a good paper-map of the area (GPS is not always accurate) and my i-Phone.

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

Lots of hikes and walks within nature and/or urban setting; combined with a good dose of history and art, while interacting with the locals in some sort of community-service-oriented activity. Volunteer-Tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in our industry!

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

Would love to take Nobel Lauriat, Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, to Alcatraz Island and let him write a script of his version of “Escape from Alcatraz” Why not?

How has tour directing impacted your perspective of the world?

Tour Directing has reassured me that goodness in people is endless, and the beauty of earth needs to be preserved for generations to come. The environment must be protected, as it is our God-given-playground.     

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

Prepare well. Do not leave any detail to “chance or luck” and respect your passengers by loving them while on tour. You will earn their respect and admiration, and above all their Gratitude.        

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

Absolutely agree that a Tour Director is first and foremost a Goodwill Ambassador. As a Tour Director, I feel like a Diplomatic Official of the highest rank, serving as permanent Head of a Mission. The Mission in this case is to deliver an unforgettable experience while on Tour!