Comprehensive Course in Interpretive Communications for Tour Guides and Directors

February 16 – 19, 2019

Join renowned interpretive guru and author Ted Cable, and Jane Beattie – tourism consultant and interpretive trainer for this inaugural IATDG Comprehensive Interpretive Training course. Covering interpretive theory basics and methodologies, tour narrative development, working with international audiences, and controversial issues, this course is highly interactive and collaborative. Opportunities are provided for you to apply what you learn to a tour you already do, or are in the process of planning. One on one interpretive coaching and mentoring will also be provided as part of the course.

This course is designed specifically for tour guides and directors and exclusive to IATDG. This unique course includes examples and exercises specifically from the tour guiding and directing profession. We know from experience that people learn best when the materials relate to “your” real world. We recognize that working in the tour industry is a highly valued and powerful role and we also know that interpretation is a communication process that will maximize the effectiveness and enjoyment of your tours.

This course utilizes the latest research and trends in learning theories, cognitive psychology, and communications so you can be a Tour Guide or Director on the cutting edge of your work. A workbook, worksheets and tour development tools will be provided that you can take home and use as often as needed and online access to materials will also be made available.




Jane Beattie, Trainer, Interpretive Tour Director and Guide Course

Jane Beattie has over 25 years in the tourism sector, predominantly in the areas of visitor experi­ence planning, program and product de­sign, heritage interpretation and guide training in sustainable and eco-tourism envi­ronments. She is currently the owner and principal consultant at Tūhura Communica­tions, a sustainable tourism and heritage inter­pretation consulting firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Projects include guide and tourism development train­ing both in the US and internationally, in addition to providing tourism assessments, interpretive communications development, and visitor experience and product design for various clients.

Dr. Ted Cable, Trainer, Interpretive Tour Director and Guide Course

Ted Cable is Professor of Park Management and Conservation at Kansas State University. He earned a BS in biology, a Master’s in Wildlife Ecology, and a Ph.D. in Environmen­tal Interpretation. He has authored 15 books, several book chapters, four scenic by­way video scripts, and more than 200 articles, reports, and presentations dealing with nature, travel and heritage interpretation. Dr. Cable has traveled and worked extensively in Africa, Asia and Latin America, teach­ing and consulting about heritage interpretation. In 2008 as part of a Fulbright award, he taught heritage in­terpretation to tourism students at the University of Bamako, Mali, West Africa. While in Mali he tracked desert elephants near Timbuktu with a National Geographic TV film crew while collect­ing ecotourism data in villages along the route.

Interpretive Tour Director and Guide Training Course

Four-day course, February 16 – 19, 2019
Includes all classroom instruction

Course only, $429 (with shared room lodging, $649)

Lodging for all nights:
Crowne Plaza Washington National Airport Hotel
1480 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202
(703) 416-1600

Single-room lodging is available through IATDG for an additional $162.45



Draft Schedule for February 16 – 19 Interpretation Course

Day 1/2 (Feb 16 – 9:00am – 5:00pm, Feb 17 – 8:30am – 5:00pm)

    • The principles, value, and gifts of interpretation – what is interpretation, what can it do for us, and why is it valued by our guests?
    • Understanding our audiences – why do they come, what expectations do they bring and how can interpretation bridge the gap?
    • Making tours thematic, organized, relevant, and enjoyable – Using Sam Ham’s TORE model, explore techniques that harness knowledge about audiences, information, and the sites we visit to bring power to tour programs
    • Tour outline development – How do we build a powerful tour programs of our own? We’ll take what we have learned apply it to our own programs through group work and other hands on activities
    • Informal guest feedback – What questions and techniques can we use while on tour to maximize guest interaction and feedback that we can put to use immediately?

Day 3/4 (Feb 18 – 8:30am – 5:00pm, Feb 19 – 8:30am – 4:30pm)

  • Advanced theme development – Best practices show that thematic tours are the most powerful, but how can we do that over multiple sites or days and how do we find the right theme?
  • Intercultural Communication – In our tours we may be working in, or have guests who are from a different country, What cultural differences exist between the major tourist nations and how can we develop cultural competence to work with and better engage them?
  • Controversial and difficult conversations – There are many sites we visit, or conversations we have with guests that are or become difficult. What skills can we apply for those tough conversations?
  • Evaluation and reflection – Continuous improvement and growth is important in any career. What tools exist that we can use to evaluate ourselves as tour guides and directors?