Let me tell you about Leap Local Team that influenced my life in the beginning of my career as a local guide and provider in Kyrgyzstan. It is an international organization founded in 2006 to promote local tourism communities. The main goal was to connect western customer with direct local contacts thus giving objective feedback of pros and cons of local guides and supporting sustainable tourism in developing countries.
In summer of 2010, I organized a cultural tours for Kirsten Koza from Canada. She has turned out to be not a regular tourist as I learnt afterwards, but an organizer of an international competition of guides and tour operators of Leap Local. All the correspondence, logistics, program, and small issues happening during the tour were being estimated by one of the most influent journalists and famous travel writers in Canada, Kirsten Koza. The tour went smoothly. I tried to react to any issues and fixed the problems immediately. She was satisfied by the services and told me that I became the participant of the international competition during her farewell dinner in Bishkek. I was more than surprised. According to the rules, I was supposed to ask my previous customers to leave feedback on my profile on their website, which I did. Kirsten has also left a tremendous feedback on it, too. In a month or so, Kirsten gave me the link of total rates of my profile and I became in the list of “Winning Local Guides and Services 2010”!
Here is the link: http://www.leaplocal.org/locals/view/345/
I received the title of winner and got their brand gifts. I felt proud when theBishkek local the most famous newspaper took an interview and the image of me and my guide showed up on the first page : )
We became good friends with Kirsten, later she visited Kyrgyzstan twice and enjoyed all her tours. She wrote interesting articles and great photos. Recently, she shared with thousands of her professional photos with all tour operators she worked with, to support tourism sector during hard times of COVID19 pandemic all over the world. Thank you for the help and support!