Moroccan tour guide Ismail Ingrioui received the bronze award in the 2019 “Wanderlust” World Guide Awards.
Rabat – The popular London travel magazine “Wanderlust” announced on Wednesday, October 2, the winners of its annual World Guide Awards.
Every year, the magazine selects ten winners from a pool of over 4,000 nominees based on tourist testimonies and reviews. The top three receive gold, silver, and bronze awards.
This year, Moroccan tour guide Ismail Ingrioui earned the bronze award.
“He received more testimonials than any other guide this year, and each was glowing with praise for him,” the magazine wrote of Ismail.
With his “unrivalled insight into local traditions, history and culture” and his “ability to go the extra mile,” Ismail has mastered his craft over nearly ten years.
The 31-year-old from Azilal in the Atlas Mountains currently works as a freelance trip leader and can be booked through the top-rated travel company Moroccan Guides Travel.
2019 marks the third year in a row that the magazine recognized Moroccan tour guides in their top three award-winners. Wanderlust recognized Moroccan tour guides in Khalid Lamlih in 2017 and Abderrahim Oukioud in 2018. The two guides received gold and bronze awards, respectively.
All three award-winning guides hail from the Atlas Mountains.
From Azilal to Marrakech
Ismail described how he came to have the “exciting and enthusiastic life” of a tour guide.
Before launching his career, he told MWN, he lived a very simple life in the mountains of Azilal, looking after his father’s sheep during the summer holidays. Going to university was the turning point in his life, he said.
Ismail received his Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Cadi Ayyad in Marrakech.
“Once I learned English, many opportunities were available to me, including guiding.”
Ismail knew he wanted to share with foreigners “a slice of Morocco’s majestic imperial cities, famous Sahara desert walks, and regal mountain treks that only the locals know and enjoy.”
His career officially began in August 2010 after completing a one-year program at the Mountaineers Training Center (CFAMM) in Tabant.
Since then, he has led over a hundred tours in the English language.
“Education is the key. The more you focus on education now, the more opportunities you will get.”
Traveling is the best teacher
As a tour guide, Ismail is an ambassador of his country. He takes travelers all over Morocco. His favorite way to present his country to tourists is through visiting Chefchaouen, Fes, the Sahara, the Atlas Mountains, and Marrakech.
“Some parts of the country offer history, some nature, some beauty, and others offer a place for self reflection.”
“My career is full of amazing and adventurous moments,” he said. “The best part of it is leaving a smile on travelers’ faces and making them fall in love with Morocco and its people.”
Ismail also enjoys the opportunity to share his culture with travelers from all over the world. He loves to show tourists Moroccan hospitality and illuminate the generosity of his country’s people.
“Being a guide has taught me a lot about my country and it opens my mind to other cultures,” he added.
“Most of all, it taught me a lot about myself as a person, because as a trip leader, my work is about having a connection with people.”
He explained that in order to succeed in having a connection with others, one has to know themselves fully.
“Reflect. Understand yourself. Know what makes you happy, sad, and motivated; what gives you negative feelings.”
As a tour guide, Ismail is constantly exposed to new people, cultures, and ideas. His thirst for learning inspired him to look beyond his home country of Morocco.
“Once I learned about my country, I pushed myself to travel and learn about other cultures.”
Ismail has traveled to Canada, Europe, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Brazil, England, and Peru. He also challenged himself to learn Russian and studied at the National University of Kharkiv in Ukraine for one year. He firmly believes that “traveling is the best teacher.”
Ismail is grateful to be able to teach others about Morocco, and to learn from his travelers in return. He is humbled by the testimonials that earned him third place in the Wanderlust World Guide Awards.
“His powerful personal story, told openly and sincerely, had a profound impact on us,” one testimony in the magazine says. “We were spellbound.”
“Ismail gave the tour a very personal touch. He really focused on what would give us the best experience,” shares another testimonial.
Ismail is excited to continue this work and help even more travelers fall in love with Morocco.