A few months back I was on the judging panel for two Leap Local competitions: best local guide and best travel writer. Not long after the winners were announced, an email landed in my inbox. “GOOOD NEEEWWWSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” read the subject line. It had been forward from a rather excited tour guide in Kyrgyzstan. His win had made the first and second pages of the country’s largest national newspaper.
Sergey Gluhoverov had impressed our judging panel for his ability to make a country with little infrastructure accessible to his guests. Reviews on Leap Local’s site (which is like a Tripadvisor for local guides) praised him for being enthusiastic, highly organised, telling great stories and always smiling.
The newspaper article was touching in its praise for Sergey’s ultra-personal service and did a good job of selling the country to adventurous travellers: “Our country does not have good tourist infrastructure and we do not have many five stars hotels, but we have a lot of untouched places that are so far from the civilization. Wild nature, customs and traditions attract tourists. (…)”
Another competition winner Gerson Pizango, also got a write-up in his local paper, The Iquitos Times in northern Peru. Plus he also got a job offer.
A good guide can really make a trip and it’s great to be able to see people getting the recognition they deserve for their hard work and dedication to help tourists get the best out of their visit.