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tourHQ Global Guide Awards, 2016

The World's Best Guides!
dennis shayo
1

Dennis Shayo Tanzania

Arusha, Moshi, Zanzibar, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru, Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara, Tarangire National Park

I was born on the hillside of Mount Kilimanjaro at 3000 meter above see level. That time I used to see Kilimanjaro from our house at the base camp. My dad was a great guide who used to lead expeditions up the Kilimanjaro; he is the one who made the effort to teach me to guide around the Kilimanjaro. When i was 15 I started climbing the mountain as a porter for 3 years and then after 2 years as chef. It’s been 8 years now that I have been climbing as a full guide. My passion is to help people makes their dreams comes true. I think that people who would like to take a holiday should make themselves aware of the place and have a passion to learn from their guides. Similarly, travellers who wish to climb the Kilimanjaro should completely acquaint themselves with all the information about the place before undertaking the climb. I thank tourHQ for their services where they help people makes their choices; where they want to go, what type of guide is best for them, and ensure that guides meet traveller needs in a good manner.

Hector Nogales
2

Hector Nogales Puerto Rico

San Juan

Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful places on earth. It has fantastic weather and cuisine and the friendliest people you will ever meet. There is a lot to do here; visit San Juan, hike in the rainforests, swim, surf and snorkel in the seas! I got into guiding when I started doing snorkeling and bio bay paddleboard tours. It suits me well since I love showing my beautiful island to visitors and love making new friends. I work with the Pine Grove Surf Club; sign up for any of the watersports with us and get yourself a complimentary rich cold coconut. If travellers go with the best attitude to explore and always see everything as an adventure, they will enjoy their holiday so much more. Ever since I signed up with tourHQ, I love the way it works. I pride myself in giving the best service and like the way it is recognised when tourists write me reviews. I am super thankful to tourHQ for giving me the opportunity to get myself known and recognised to travellers around the world as well as in the tour guide community.

Marcello Torrisi
3

Marcello Torrisi Italy

Palermo, Catania, Messina, Syracuse, Agrigento, Mount Etna

I pursued my education in Naples 18 years ago where I studied for my degree in English and Japanese languages. There, I started working with working Japanese travellers wherein I would escort them to areas around Naples like Pompeii Capri etc. It was in 2006 that I started escorting big groups on tours. I would advice travellers planning a visiting to Italy to make Catania their base to visit the rest of the east coast. We are in the middle of the main touristic routes; we are not even an hour away by car from areas like Syracuse Messina and Mount Etna. Catania itself is a beautiful city that is part of the UNESCO Baroque heritage with lovely churches and historical streets; we have beaches too! The best way for travellers to make the best of their holiday experience is to try to forget the previous holiday or what has been left at home; you will not get the same thing, so do not compare. This holiday, this country is a new unique experience, so don’t expect an American breakfast here, but rather look forward to tasting the Italian breakfast. This way you will be a traveller not a tourist. In my efforts, I try to be as personal about my guiding experiences as possible. I add life experiences’ including life fails in my guiding narrative. I try not to guide like I’m reading a book; anybody can do that. I like my guiding to be interactive. When I lead travellers around my island, I try to give them the local experience, showing them how we live, why things are going on, and do not avoid giving them a real picture about the good as well as the bad about my guiding area. I realize the travellers appreciate that since they get an impartial picture of things too! I enjoy reading my reviews on tourHQ; it helps me know what people think when they return home, talk with friends and is reassuring that they have a nice memory of the trip. I am very happy with my association with tourHQ, and am printing my tourHQ profile address on my visiting cards, so that travellers can get a good idea of past travellers feedback and experiences from this platform.

4

Remzi Kaya Turkey

Antalya, Istanbul, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Troy, Pergamon

I have been working as a tour guide since March 1987. It started as a hobby then it became a passion. Now I feel myself as an ambassador of my country where I get to tell people how Turkey has been the cradle of the civilizations since 8000 B.C. My tours generally start from Istanbul, the former capital of Byzantine and Ottoman empires, taking my guests to Troy, Ephesus and Pamukkale in the Aegean region. From there we head to Aspendos amphitheater and Mayra the birthplace of Saint Nicholas in the Mediterranean region. Finally, to Cappadocia known for it is unique lunar landscape in central region. During these tours not only I focus on history, religion and culture but also I share my profound knowledge in agriculture, wildlife, flora and fauna of Turkey because of my background as a former county agricultural agent.

Sarath Karunarathna
5

Sarath Karunarathna Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura, Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Dambulla, Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya, Yala National Park, Pinnawala

I am an old hand in tourism industry from Sri Lanka. I am living up to the good name and reputation of Sri Lanka as a hospitable country, to the extent of receiving highest number of reviews in excellent category as a tour guide. I have blended my knowledge and experiences acquired from the capacity of manager - quality assurance and operations in a multi national company in Sri Lanka, with my family run business as a tailor made / package tourist services provider. I have been rewarded with customer’s fullest satisfaction to the service by providing them responsible and reliable service, and end-to-end hassle free solutions on their travel and tourism needs. I profusely thank TourHQ and offer my heartfelt gratitude for connecting me with world travelers to reach new heights in my carrier, with the help of the reputation & recognition that TourHQ carries in the global tourism industry.

Ahmet Tuncel
6

Ahmet Tuncel Turkey

Ankara, Antalya, Bursa, Denizli, Istanbul, Konya, Cappadocia, Ephesus, Pergamon, Pamukkale

After having different kinds of experiences and completing my education I realized that working in a monotonous job, living in an environment where there was no development or change created boredom in me. And if this situation were to continue I would not be effective in my life with the all information such as history of religions, history of humanity, cultural differences between all nations etc. that I had learnt and experienced. In the light of all of these experiences Guiding was the most suitable job for me because while I am guiding I share all my knowledge and experiences while I am learning new things. This is the biggest factor I like in my job, that every time I learn something new to enrich myself. Most of the tourists they don’t make research before they travel and when they arrive they really don’t know what they need to do or they follow the itinerary that they were given by the travel agencies. I would suggest people that they need to make a small research and request from the guide or travel agencies to include whatever they are interested in most and must seen things. Thanks to that they will not miss anything in the city that they visit and make their holiday more joyful. The tourists need to make a clear list of what they want to see and find a licensed tour guide through a dependable web page like tourHQ. As it is known, there are different kinds of tourists whose have different preferences and demanding. To make themselves clear they need to talk with their guide about their tour program with any kind of communication device such as via telephone, mails, Skype etc. before they start it, and since they have already informed their guide about what they want they just need to follow their guide to enjoy their tour. Thanks to TourHQ I had chance to work with some clients and it was really very good feeling to have been contacted via your web page. Since your web page has a big global access I am proud of being in this Guiding family. Thank you very much for your efforts to work very hard to create such a good communication and job opportunity for all guides and giving information to the travellers in all around the world.

Randy Bibb
7

Randy Bibb United States of America

New Orleans

The perceptions of New Orleans have changed, drastically, in the last 10 years. Prior to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, New Orleans’ biggest attraction was its rich and complex history. I have studied New Orleans History since the 1970’s and by the 1980’s I was giving tours of the French Quarter to family and friends. By 2004 I realized that I loved sharing New Orleans history so much that I decided to become licensed and start giving tours professionally. It was the best decision of my life. Being a tour guide can be very frustrating – particularly when I am faced with people who only want cultural stereotypes and don’t want the richer realities of New Orleans – but it is also extremely rewarding. People often say to me “Oh, I bet you have a million horror stories, being a tour guide!” But I don’t. I truly don’t. People are here to have a good time and I have a good time helping them with it. The one thing I tell people most of all is to think outside of the box. Get away from the food/jazz/food/jazz obsession. Oh, definitely go to great restaurants and hear amazing music while you are here; but see what else is here and find out who we truly are. We are a stroll along a bayou; we are a cruise on the Mississippi River; we are world-class museums (and even a National museum!); we have much to offer families and children. People often think of New Orleans as strictly an adult playground, but there is much (MUCH!) to delight children of all ages. On my TourHQ profile is an article I wrote entitled OUTSIDE THE BOX. Hopefully, it will get some of the wheels turning and make people want to see a side of the city that often gets swept under the carpet. When planning a trip to New Orleans, one of the most important things people must consider is the climate, which is sub-tropic. This means hot summers and cold winters, mainly because of the year-round humidity. In December and January the temperatures can be shockingly cold. People are often surprised when they come here in the winter only to find that they are not in a tropical oasis and are shivering in the cold. Meanwhile, in the summer months, the heat here is unbearable to many. To people coming in the summer I usually do not recommend outdoor tours. Summer (and the cold of winter too, for that matter) are best suited for the many museums and indoor activities. The best time to visit is either from early March to mid-May or from late September to early December. The climate is more moderate and your experience will be much more pleasant when the weather is in your favor. (And ALWAYS have an umbrella with you – whenever and wherever you travel!) A word about food and music: Real New Orleanians are very discerning about food. We are harsh critics and we never stand in line for a meal. It is important for the visitor to realize that “famous” does not automatically equal “good.” Many restaurants pay big money to become famous and people confuse fame with quality. My advice is almost always this: Avoid restaurants with long lines. Avoid restaurants with a display tray of food sitting out on the sidewalk, rotting in the sun. Avoid restaurants that have a barker; if a restaurant has to have someone out in front saying “Hurry, hurry, step right up! We got your gumbo, we got your crawfish, we got your alligator po’boy!”…then there’s something wrong. Music: “Where can I go to hear good music?” It’s not about venues it’s about performers. What if I sent you to a place to hear music and you found members of the New Orleans Opera Association singing selections from Puccini? (Which does happen.) Actually, music is everywhere here. It’s in the street, it’s in restaurants, it’s on the levee, it’s on the river boats, it is even in the neighborhoods! (As I write this, it is Carnival weekend – Tuesday is Mardi Gras – and just yesterday my next door neighbor had a live band performing in his driveway!!!) So, music is everywhere! Keep your ears open and just…walk. I would like to express my deepest and heartfelt gratitude to the people of TourHQ for bestowing this honor on me. I love what I do, I love where I live and I love the people who come to visit and when all of that comes together - well, the rest is easy.

mohamed fazil mohamed
8

Mohamed Fazil Mohamed Sri Lanka

Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Bentota, Nuwara Eliya, Yala National Park, Habarana

I am really proud to being a member of tourHQ. Thank you for the recognition you have given me as one of the top Global tour guide. I started my carrier as ticket officer in the travel & tourism industry. Eventually I was bored of my desk job and moved into fieldwork. I had never dreamed of joining this sector earlier, and consider myself really fortunate to be in a profession I love. The most rewarding bit about my job is traveller’s satisfaction from their holiday and my guiding services. I would advice tourists to make the most during their holidays since it is rare that travellers return to the same place twice; for this, have a proper plan in consultation with your tour guide. It is also important to make sure that travellers have a right guide during your visit and talk to them about their expectations upfront which helps avoid any bad experiences during the visit. Finally, a word to all tour guides: make sure that you protect your visitors like own family members. Remember, an unhappy customer means no food on your table.

Praveen Mendis
9

Praveen Mendis Sri Lanka

Anuradhapura, Colombo, Galle, Kandy, Negombo, Sigiriya, Ella, Polonnaruwa, Nuwara Eliya, Pinnawala

I am a tourist chauffeur guide in Sri Lanka with authorized tourists chauffeur license issued by National Tourists Drivers Association (NTDA). I have worked in this field for six years. I specialize in mainly round tour, city tour, one-day tour, activities, and camping sites. Additionally I assist with hotel bookings, customizing travel itineraries, and arrange transportation from any part of the island. I am very friendly with my customers and flexible, as a result of which I can manage whole tours very easily and my clients are happy with my services. My main aim is customer’s satisfaction and unforgettable memories in Sri Lanka. I can guarantee that if any traveller does even one tour with me he will come back to me next time!

Marco  Geraci
10

Marco Geraci Italy

Palermo, Catania, Messina, Syracuse, Ragusa, Agrigento, Mount Etna, Taormina

I started guiding 23 years ago when one of my friends advised me about this profession. There was no looking back after that because I fell in love with my job. For one, I loved speaking different foreign languages; I can speak English French Spanish in addition to Italian. Secondly I got to meet people from other nationalities and learn from them. I love showing my city and the changes it is going through especially from the point of view of a local. It feels good to clear any misconceptions some people may have about Sicily as I interact with people from all parts of the world. I would advise travellers that to enjoy their holiday in the best possible manner they should enjoy the new land, understand its history, meet and understand the soul of the people not just look at the attractions and take pictures; that’s not the real way! I personally enjoy traveling, staying with people, talking and laughing with them. With my tourists I enjoy the trust they place in me, to learn about the beauty and history of Sicily, and the enthusiasm they show in learning from them. In turn, I end up showing people the passion for my job, and my love for my land. TourHQ has worked very well for me. I get a lot of enquiries from The United States and France; tourists contact me directly through tourHQ, and then when they are happy with my guiding, they pass on my contact details to their friends. So I get a lot of referrals by word of mouth.