For the first time in the Wanderlust World Guide Awards history, two guides from the same company made it into the top three this year, with G Adventures’ Samer (SemSem) Saied from Egypt winning first place with Gold, and Bopha Sok from Cambodia bringing home the Bronze.
The World Guide Awards encourages Wanderlust readers from across the globe to nominate the tour leaders they feel went above and beyond to give them an unforgettable experience. This year saw 2,500 guides nominated, with winners selected by a team of industry experts including Wanderlust co-founder and editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes, and renowned author Bill Bryson.
In 2010, G Adventures’ founder, Bruce Poon Tip, gave over his title of CEO to the people he felt were the most important in the business – those who deliver life-changing experiences to G Adventures’ travellers every day. All G Adventures ‘tour guides’ became known as CEO’s, or chief experience officers.
Bruce Poon Tip says SemSem and Bopha exemplify what it means to be a great CEO, leading with humility and passion, as well as vast local knowledge and genuine care for their travellers.
“I’m so proud of both SemSem and Bopha. They come from places that have seen a lot of turmoil in the not-so-distant past, and they are passionate ambassadors for their countries, consistently leading with service for our travellers. Egypt and Cambodia are both ripe for tourism right now, and who wouldn’t want to go to either country and be led by one of the world’s best guides.
“What makes G Adventures different is we work hard to give our CEO’s the freedom to personalise their trips as much as possible, while at the same time empowering them with various growth and development opportunities within the organisation,” says Poon Tip.
The winners were announced at a ceremony at London’s Royal Geographical Society on 6th October 2016. Now in its 11th year, the Awards is the only global awards to exclusively recognise these unsung heroes of the travel industry.
Each winner was awarded a generous bursary donated by Wanderlust to put towards community projects of their choice in their home country.
Gold winner SemSem plans to use his bursary to support three causes close to his heart, including a new ‘G Adventures for Good’ project in Egypt, the Magdi Yacoub Foundation’s Aswan Heart Centre, and the Saint George Scout Team in downtown Cairo where he is a leader.
Judge Bill Bryson commended SemSem’s positive impact on those around him: “He inspires both his travellers and his colleagues. He has changed lives, enriched people’s experiences and is a marvellous ambassador for his country.”
Bopha plans to put his bursary towards the G Adventures-supported New Hope Vocational Training Restaurant in Siem Reap where he learnt to speak English. He also intends to sponsor impoverished youths in his home village, helping them to go to university.
To book a trip with one of G Adventures’ and Wanderlust’s award-winning guides, details are below:
- Samer (SemSem) Saied will be leading G Adventures’ eight-day Best of Egypt trip departing 11 February, 2017. This is a vibrant journey through Egypt’s ancient sites and cultural landmarks including the Great Pyramids of Giza, the vibrant bazaars of Aswan and Luxor and a traditional felucca sail down the Nile. Priced from $1,099pp departing from/returning to Cairo, including accommodation, internal flights, and all transport and activities/meals as described in itinerary.
- Bopha Sok – G Adventures is offering a nine-day Cambodia Experience tour (departs 21 February, 2017) travelling with Bopha. This trip is a fantastic glimpse into Cambodia’s rich history and beautiful landscape, exploring the ancient sites of Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh. Priced from $1,149pp, departing from Saigon and finishing in Bangkok, including accommodation, all transport and activities/meals as described in itinerary.
For more information or to book a trip call 1300 796 618 or visit www.gadventures.com.au