May 21 2013 Latest news:
By Duncan Brodie
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
A GUIDE working for Debenham-based adventure travel operator Dragoman has been named among the world’s best tour leaders.
Luca Alfatti won a gold award at the annual World Guide Awards, organised by Wanderlust magazine and held at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
As an overlanding driver with Dragoman for the last six years, Luca has driven extensively throughout South America, Africa and India and well as from London to Beijing and back.
One customer testimonial cited in his nomination said he is “always extremely modest and even describes himself as ‘average’, when he is truly anything but”. Another said: “He devours reference/guide books in his sleep so no need to pack yours; I would feel confident to travel anywhere with him”.
He was presented with his award by author Bill Bryson and wildlife presenter Mark Carwardine. Bill Bryson said: “Luca is an awesome all rounder, knowledgeable with great people skills and a mechanic. Is there anything he can’t do?!”
Luca, who is Italian, wins a £5,000 bursary and plans to support a community in rural Guatemala as he returns to Central America with Dragoman in 2013.
He said: “I used to work in Guatemala and I know the country fairly well. I will be looking at a community where there is a project for orphans and abandoned mums”. Luca also plans to spend part of the bursary to gain some qualifications to better himself further at his job.
Lyn Hughes, editor in chief at Wanderlust, said the standard of the finalists had been exceptionally high this year, with four entrants being nominated rather than three as originally planned.
The magazine invited its readers to nominate and vote for guides, with a shortlist drawn up from more than 1,000 nominations then being judged by a team of experts who chose the four overall winners.
It is the second consecutive year that a Dragoman tour leader has been a finalist in the awards. Last year, Gaetano Barone won the silver award.