Established in 1985, the Guild is a vital part of tourism in Washington, DC.
The Guild consists of over 500 tour guides, tour operators (called "Affiliates"), and organizations that provide services for tours (called "Friends").
Guild representatives continue to be invited to serve on visitor services advisory panels of the National Park Service, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the U.S. Capitol.
The Guild has also contributed to the local tourism industry by working with non-governmental agencies such as the DC Chamber of Commerce, the DC Heritage Tourism Coalition, Destination DC, the American Bus Association and regional departments of tourism to enhance public information about tour opportunities in the Washington metropolitan area and site accessibility.
In 1999 the Guild was instrumental in founding the National Federation of Tourist Guide Associations (NFTGA) which now has a membership of guide associations in 20 United States cities. The NFTGA's purpose is to foster high professional standards for tourist guides and provide a national network of information for the guiding profession.
The Guild is also a member of the World Federation of Tourist Guide Associations.
The Guild has a Board of Directors, established bylaws, and follows a policies and procedures manual established by the Board with input from member guides. The Guild has been following a strategic business plan, developed in 1998 with membership input that is updated every two years. The Guild has a comprehensive professional Code of Ethics, which all members must sign with their annual membership renewal.