World Guide Awards 2012 shortlist announced
The shortlist for this year's World Guide Awards from travel magazine Wanderlust has been announced.
Recognising and rewarding travel guides "who go above and beyond" what is required of them, the awards are now in their seventh year.
Among the four-strong shortlist for the 2012 prize is Luca Alfatti, an overland adventure guide with Dragoman.
Having worked with Dragoman for six years, the Italian has driven up and down South America, Africa, India, and from London to Beijing and back again.
One client describes Luca as "always extremely modest and even describes himself as 'average', when he truly is anything but".
"He devours reference/guide books in his sleep so no need to pack your own," said another, "I would feel confident to travel anywhere with him."
This year's overall winner will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on the evening of October 4th, with a judging panel consisting of travel writer Bill Bryson, wildlife guru Mark Carwardine and Wanderlust co-founder Lyn Hughes.
Ms Hughes noted that the standard of competition has been particularly high this year, making a final decision extremely difficult.
"This is the seventh year of the awards but the decision-making doesn't get any easier," she said.
"We were intending to get from ten guides down to three for the final, but eventually let four go through to the final stage.
"They are all remarkable people, who I look forward to meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in London in October."
Meanwhile, travel expert Rosemary Neave, editor of Womentravel.info, this week recommended escorted adventure travel tours as a great way for groups of friends to explore new destinations, thanks in part to the expertise of the guides.
Commenting on her own experience of a trip to south-east Asia, she said: "I loved not having to decide where to stay and what to do - our guide had done it before and had discovered the best way of getting the most out of our time in Vietnam."