Former Air Force Officer and Diplomatic Attaché Launches Second Career as a Tour Director, Intensive 15-Day International Tour Management Institute (ITMI) Certification Program Paves the Way

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Tour directing lets Larry Bell combine his passion for travel and new adventures with the freedom to chart his own course.

Larry Bell, Enjoying the Local Color

My Air Force career opened the world of travel to me. That eventually led me to tour directing, it seemed like a natural follow-on career.

“My Air Force career opened the world of travel for me. Many of my assignments allowed me to travel to foreign countries, observing different cultures and meeting interesting people. It was this opportunity to travel that eventually led me to tour directing--it seemed like a natural follow-on career,” states Larry Bell.

“When I learned about ITMI, I realized that this was what I was looking for. The instructors made the course interesting and comprehensive. Upon graduation, I felt that I was really ready to direct my first tour, provide local step-on guide service, or host my first cruise. I find all aspects of the tour and travel business fascinating, from step-on local guiding, to cruise hosting, to event planning and operations, to domestic tour directing and international tour management. Recently, I took the next logical step--I started my own tour business, Destination Discovery, so that I can design the itineraries that fulfill my dreams,” he added.

“Former military personnel who have a passion for travel and new adventures and desire the freedom to chart their own course, may find tour directing a unique encore career option,” says Ted Bravos, CEO of ITMI. “When I returned from a 13-month tour of duty in Vietnam, I wanted to make a difference in the world, but I didn’t know what that would be. During my transition back to civilian life, I decided to take a year-long bicycle trip throughout Europe. After that amazing experience I was hopelessly bitten by the travel bug: thus began my new career as a tour director. That ultimately sparked the idea for a school that would prepare people for a career in tour directing.”

In 1976, Ted launched the International Tour Management Institute (ITMI), the premier institute for the training and certification of tour directors. Since then, ITMI has certified over 7,000 tour directors from around the world.

ITMI offers comprehensive field and classroom training that prepares graduates for immediate employment. Individual strategy sessions held after course completion, help students identify their immediate and long term objectives. ITMI also helps students with resume preparation and assists them in arranging interviews with prospective employers.

Travel and tour companies are constantly seeking qualified professionals to direct tours or to serve as hosts on cruise ships. Tour directors typically earn $250 to $350 per day or more, plus all expense paid trips to exotic destinations. Speaking a second language enhances employment opportunities and increases earnings. Job placement is almost immediate, because the demand is much greater than the supply.

About ITMI:
Since 1976, ITMI has been America’s premier training and certification program for professional tour directors and guides. For more information about ITMI contact Annemarie Osborne Annemarie.Osborne(at)gmail(dot)com, or (415) 957-9489 or visit

About Destination Discovery:
Destination Discovery, founded in 1996 by Larry Bell, a former U.S. diplomat in Paris, France and Rabat, Morocco, designs and conducts tours in the western United States and throughout Canada, Italy, France, England, and Morocco. For more information, visit or contact Larry Bell larrybell(at)destinationdiscovery(dot)com or call 801-245-0598.
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Annemarie Osborne

Joan Keddell
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