Tourism Leadership Council Now Offers Voluntary Tour Guide Certification

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

The Tourism Leadership Council now offers a voluntary tour guide certification program to fill the void after the City of Savannah stopped requiring a test.

“We heard loud and clear from the tourism community and tour guides themselves that they wanted tour guides to have proved their basic knowledge of history for our community,” said Michael Owens, President/CEO of the TLC. “They wanted to have a certification process to help maintain the quality of the tour product.”

To that end, General Manager of The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa, Mark Spadoni said, “Keeping knowledge of Savannah history consistent is necessary to provide the higher caliber of service we require for organizations seeking our recommendation.”

After several months of working in collaboration with experts in the field from Georgia Historical Society, Armstrong State University, and established tour guides, a new and improved study guide and exam was developed.

Charlotte Landon, an independent tour guide was the first to receive certification. “Even though it’s voluntary, I think it’s important to have a certification program. Many other cities have a system like this in place,” said Landon.

Candidates must pass a 100-question exam covering the history of Savannah, and provide a background check.  Those who pass the test will receive a certified tour guide badge to wear during their tours, and will be listed on, which will be a comprehensive listing of all TLC certified tour guides. The site is being developed as a go-to resource for concierge and front desk professionals who recommend tours to guests.

Certification is good for two years from the date of issuance of the badge, and the test cost $50 for two attempts at the test.  For more information about certified tour guides and how to become a certified tour guide, visit