Explore Tour Leader Awards, 2008

Category: Media & Awards | June 05, 2017


Explore, the world’s leading small group adventure holiday company, recently announced its inaugural Tour Leader Awards winners. After a lengthy judging process, the top leader in each of four categories was chosen with an additional overall Tour Leader of the Year winner also selected. In a recent survey for Holiday Which magazine, Explore’s tour leaders achieved the highest mark in the survey with 86% of customers “Very Satisfied” with their tour rep.

Explore’s tour leader training is generally acknowledged to be the most intensive in the business and securing a position as a tour leader with the company is much coveted. Operating to seven continents and over 130 countries with 500 plus itineraries, Explore has over 300 tour leaders worldwide and the difficult task in selecting these winners means they can truly be described as “the best of the best.”

Winners for 2008 are Chris Siviter, Tour Leader of the Year Award, Tolga Kanik, Local Knowledge Award for his expertise inTurkey, Pascale Suter, Organisational Skills Award for her work around the world, Maxwell Wood, People Skills Award and Diego Torres, Respect for Local People Award.  Certificates will be presented to the winners in addition to financial recognition, split between a personal sum and an amount going towards a charity or project of the winners’ choice. Category winners each get £500 split 50/50 between themselves and charities and the overall winner gets £1,000, with £250 going to charity.

Ashley Toft, Managing Director of Explore, comments: “As a former Explore tour leader myself, I can appreciate the hard work involved for all our tour leaders, not just the winners and nominees. We decided it was long overdue to provide this recognition to our ambassadors with these awards, they are often the unsung heros representing us around the world, not only with passengers but with locals. What’s especially heartening to see, is that the winners are split between local andUKbased leaders. It’s a tough but hugely rewarding job, sometimes requiring the diplomatic skills of the UN but seeing these winners – many of whom I know personally – I’m confident that we have the very best tour leaders in the business working for Explore.”

The Explore Tour Leaders Awards judging panel included Yvonne Ramsey, Explore Operations Manager and Kate Russell, Explore Tour Leader Services Manager, Fabio Perselli, Commissioning Editor for Horizons (Explore’s customer magazine) and occasional tour leader and Amar Grover & DianaPreston, both freelance journalists.

Established in 1981, Explore is the world’s leading small group adventure holiday company, with seven specialist programmes – Worldwide, Family Adventures, Cycle, Short Breaks, School Adventures, Special Interest and Beyond.

Winner, Local Knowledge: Tolga Kanık, TURKEY

All feedback received from Tolga always refers to his great local knowledge and the fact that no questions go unanswered. His knowledge was referred to as second to none on several letters that the Customer Relations department received in reference to him – this comes across as his main strength as a tour leader. “Having become an Explore tour leader in 2005, I experience more and more of the natural and historical treasures of my country: vast and bright glaciers overtopping summits; massive and lonely mountain ranges; drive trains, cranks and spokes; walking poles hitting the rocks; fiddling down the steep scree slopes; yet more fun with gusting winds on top of Mt Ararat desperately searching for the so-called Noah’s Ark; shy mountain goats roaming in rugged Taurus mountains; adorable frescoes of Cappadocia region, home for troglodyte churches in the fairy chimneys; Roman chariot races at the ancient Istanbul’s Hippodrome; sun setting over the turquoise Lake Van and getting soaked to the skin under heavy rain in lash green Kackar range. All in all, being so proud of my beautiful country, I have dedicated myself to introducing all aspects of Turkey at their best.

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