Editor-in-chief and co-founder of Wanderlust Lyn Hughes explains why nominating your top guide for the Wanderlust World Guide Awards 2013 is vital
They make the difference between an average trip and an unforgettable one. They inspire and inform. They have the power to change lives. Some have had humble backgrounds and little formal education and yet they awe us with their knowledge, empathy and multi-talented skills.
The guide is usually part of a team; whether of drivers, porters, admin staff or other guides. Time and time again, we get told by shortlisted guides that the recognition has made the whole team immeasurably proud. It has acted as an inspiration to younger members of their community.
For many of the winning guides, this means their first visit to the UK. To be awarded at the Royal Geographical Society is a particularly special honour for them. Some of them have also been interviewed on BBC radio or for local newspapers. Best of all, for many of them, is the opportunity to catch up with their clients.
Last year's Gold Award winner Bruno Dawsan said the effects of him winning were still being felt, “When I was nominated for the 2011 Wanderlust World Guide Awards and won Gold, this was a prestigious award to me, my country Sri Lanka, and for tourism as a whole. In Sri Lanka, through media I became very important and was able to give guidance to many youngster to build up their talents to protect future tourism.”
Our top guides over the past few years have used their bursaries in a number of ways, from supporting the education or training of others in their community, to helping pay for ballroom dancing lessons for township kids, to an ambitious solar cooker project...
To go to the RGS and cheer on your guide is a wonderful experience. We always have an array of celebrities and travel gurus attend, and the evening is a mix of entertainment and heart-warming stories. But, most of all, it’s about sharing with your guide what is one of the best days of their life!