About Our Association

San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association is a non-profit organization founded in 1999. We are composed of approximately 100 local tour guides, some of whom have over 25 years of travel industry experience, and many are multilingual.

Our talented guides are experienced in every area of tour guide work, including step-on tours of the San Diego area, meetings and incentive programs, team building, airport meet and greets, dine-a-rounds, etc.

Our Mission Statement:

To enhance the visitor’s experience in the San Diego region by ensuring a high standard of professionalism within the tour guide industry. We accomplish this by providing certified tour guides and field staff who are experts in the San Diego region.

Code of Ethics:

All members of this association pledge to maintain the maximum degree of professionalism by adhering to the association’s Code of Ethics:

  • Strive for excellence in all aspects of the profession and personally guarantee the integrity and accuracy of material presented
  • Extend professional respect and a spirit of cooperation to fellow guides
  • Maintain loyalty to the companies that contract for our services and protect the confidentiality of proprietary information
  • Uphold the association’s philosophy of aspiring to excellence through a program of certification and continuing education.

Our 2017 Board Members:

Corky Lang, President
Corky Lang is a native San Diegan with a varied career in travel, theatre, television, and journalism. As an international travel director, he has led premier travel groups to over 30 countries. In theatre, he performed in a national tour of The Grapes of Wrath; co-produced the musical Suds in San Francisco; and co-founded San Diego’s Fritz Theatre. Corky was production coordinator for the documentaries Primal Twang and Love-In, both filmed at the North Park Theatre. He has worked as a radio DJ, copywriter, voice-over talent and narrator. His former special events company produced elaborate theme parties for corporate clients, with the “Murder Mystery Evening” performed nationally over 100 times. Corky just finished a two-year assignment as an online columnist for the AOL-owned Lemon Grove Patch, and currently can be seen on KPBS as a pledge break host. In addition to being able to sneeze like Donald Duck and tell amusing stories, Corky loves sharing his knowledge of Southern California and the entire Golden State.

Victor Knarreborg, Vice President

Jan Shields, Membership Secretary
Jan was raised in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and has worked in the hospitality industry in one way or another since she was 14 years old. After graduating from college and moving to beautiful San Diego she worked in the corporate world for a number of years, arranging tours and conferences for her clients. She decided, after a period of time, that what she really wanted to do was to tour full time as a Tour Director. After graduating from the International Travel Management Institute (ITMI), she became a full-time Tour Director for five years. (A highlight was working the Presidential Inauguration.) Eventually she decided there was no better bed then her own, and shifted her focus to working as a field staff member for various destination management companies right here in the “Finest City” in the world, San Diego. What she enjoys most about her work is welcoming travelers from around the world to San Diego, and sharing the beauty and history of the city with them. As a member of the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association, Jan enjoys the friendship, support and networking opportunities the Association provides.

Joanie Jenkins, Recording Secretary
Before beginning the crazy-fun lifestyle of a Tour Director and Guide, my eclectic career in hospitality included crewing aboard luxury yachts throughout several countries, sailing adventures in San Diego Bay, guiding whale watching excursions in Alaska and Hawaii, managing a resort marina office in San Diego, dispatching Alaskan bush planes, planning and hosting corporate parties, and even leading water aerobics for seniors at the YMCA. I enjoy leading tours throughout Southern California and the southwest, and especially love helping passengers create memories that will last a lifetime. I’m currently training for my San Diego Tour Guide Certification, and I look forward to sharing San Diego’s sights, tastes, and history with visitors to America’s Finest City.

Patti Foley, Treasurer
Patti has lived in San Diego for almost her entire life (since she was 7).  After 25 years in the corporate world, she decided to take her business skills along with her love of travel, people and passion for history and transition into the tourism industry.  This new career has led to involvement with destination management companies, private and group city tours, walking and hiking trips throughout the city, and over the road tours around the country.  The membership in the Association has provided her with professional networking and a constant learning opportunity about San Diego.  The continual learning only helps provide the best service to our visitors to San Diego.

Patti says, “I was fortunate to be introduced to traveling at a young age—there is even a picture of me in front of Mt. Rushmore at the age of 2 months. My first big road trip was at the age of 7, when my dad was relocated from Maryland to San Diego and we drove cross-country. Since then, I have visited 42 states to date (I do plan to visit all 50) and 20 countries. After 25 years in the corporate world, I have decided to take my business skills and transition into my second career as a tour director and hospitality professional. I recently graduated from International Tour Management Institute, and am working on becoming a Certified Tour Guide with the San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association. I have taken several guided tours, all with wonderful tour directors who have each inspired me in their own way. I love travel, San Diego, history, and learning about people and their own backgrounds and interests. I can’t wait to share the wonderful city of San Diego with all visitors.”

Professional Affiliations
San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau
National Federation of Tourist Guides – USA
San Francisco Tour Guide Guild

Business Members
Adventurous Travelers
Another Day In Paradise Tours
Arrangements Unlimited
AZA Events
Bespoke Experiences San Diego
DayTripper Tours
Delicious Adventures
Mormon Battalion
Old Town Trolley Tours
Sundance Stage Lines

Meetings & Activities
The association is always organizing new familiarization (FAM) Tours, workshops and networking mixers throughout the year, so please check back here for additional details.  If you have an idea for a fun activity, great FAM tour or guest speaker, please contact our FAM  Tour Chair or Meetings Committee Chair.

Member Meetings:
The San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association holds regular meetings which feature guest speakers from the local San Diego tourism industry.  Please check with us regarding meeting location and times.  The business portion of the meeting typically runs from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m., followed by our guest speaker (if applicable) for the month.

All members, guests and prospective members are invited to attend.

If interested in attending, please contact our membership secretary, Jan Shields.

Upcoming Business Meetings:


Familiarization Tours:
The San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association offers familiarization (FAM) tours regularly to our members, which are an invaluable resource for helping our member guides become experts in the San Diego region.

Guests are welcome on select tours; however, additional charges may apply, and we also prefer that all guests are employed in the tourism industry.

Past FAM Tours We’ve Offered:
(list alphabetically in columns)

Mixers And Social Outings:
The association regularly sponsors networking mixers as well as other fun and beneficial social outings for our members. To submit any ideas, or for more information, please contact us.

Educational Workshops:
San Diego Professional Tour Guide Association will be sponsoring educational workshops throughout each year.