Born in Porto, Portugal in 1973 Maria Joao decided at the age of 15 that tourist guiding was the profession for her! She trained for three and a half years at The Hotel and Tourism School in Porto and Estoril, Lisbon and qualified in 1994.
Since that time, her professional career has been divided between guiding and being a tourist guide trainer, the latter mostly in The Hotel and Tourism School of Porto, which trains tourist guides and driver guides. Quite often her guiding skills are incorporated into different courses offered by the School.
Since 2013 Maria Joao has also been the Coordinator of the Certification and Quality Department of SNATTI, the principal representative body for national tourist guides in Portugal and a member of the Portuguese National Examination Board for Tourist Guides. More recently she became one of the qualified T-GUIDES in Europe, the Portuguese FEG Trainer in Accreditation, the new Portuguese delegate to FEG and one of the participants in the Silk Road Project.