We are thrilled to announce that Intrepid’s Bruno Dawsan has been heralded as the world’s greatest tour leader at the 2011 Wanderlust World Guide Awards!
Last year’s Bronze Award winner, this year Bruno won Gold after receiving even more support, with heartwarming and impassioned testimonials from travellers who told of rescuing people from a fire and helping to make a marriage proposal special. Born into a Tamil tea-picking family, he has become a true “cultural ambassador for his country.”
As one supporter said, “Being a teacher myself, I sat in awe of his enthusiasm and awareness of Sri Lanka’s past, present and future. He is proactive in keeping his travellers comfortable and happy. We laughed heartily, shed quiet tears of admiration and thoroughly enjoyed his enthusiasm for life and love for his homeland, where we felt we were honoured visitors.”
Now in their sixth year, the awards are the only ones of their kind to recognise the exceptional guides ever-present at the frontline of travel. A record number of nominations were received from around the world.
Judge, author and TV wildlife expert Mark Carwardine says of Bruno: “He is an incredibly intelligent, honest, savvy, caring, fast-thinking individual. We’ve done many trips with brilliant guides; the difference is with Bruno that instead of just hearing about his country, he made you feel part of it.”
Bruno wins a £5,000 bursary and plans to help more local, disadvantaged people benefit from further education. Last year he spent his bursary money helping to sponsor a local girl from a poor tea plantation and intends to follow this by spending his Gold Award prize on supporting five students from a local village to train in computer studies. Bruno says: “It’s fantastic to be able to help young people from my local villages with their ambitions and give them the opportunity to study. I’ve been lucky enough to find a career that I am passionate about and want to help others find the same.”
The World Guide Awards recognise the difference that a great guide can make to a travel experience. They were set up by Wanderlust editor-in-chief Lyn Hughes as a tribute to her husband Paul Morrison, with whom she co-founded the magazine with 17 years ago and who died in 2004.
Lyn Hughes comments: “A great guide has the power to turn your trip into the experience of a lifetime, which is why I set up the awards: to honour these unsung heroes. Now in their sixth year, we now have 17 past and present winners from around the world and each one has invested their bursaries into great causes such as building solar cookers for communities in Zambia to supporting existing charities such as Proyecto DCR in Ecuador, which helps give marginalised street kids an opportunity to receive education. I am extremely proud of them all and their tireless work for these communities.”
The whole Intrepid community congratulates Bruno on this well-deserved award. He’s been a much-loved leader since he started full time with Intrepid Travel in 2004 and winning Gold is wonderful recognition of his endless dedication and inspiration.