A Sri Lankan tour guide who won a global award for his work and was invited to London for the awards ceremony was unfortunately deprived of the opportunity as his visa application to the UK was rejected.
Instead the award had to be collected on his behalf by Sanjika Perera, Director UK & Ireland, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
The disapointed guide, Noel Bruno told the Business Times that he won the bronze award of the World Guides Award presented by Wanderlust Magazine of the UK, a leading travel magazine. To be eligible for this award one has to be nominated by clients who have been served by the particular guide. “I was informed by the editor of the magazine that from over 1000 nominees I was picked to receive the bronze award and the ceremony was to be held at the London’s Royal Geographical Society in London. Though I submitted my application with this letter of invitation and other letters from Ms. Intrepid Travel Pty Ltd Australia for whom I work for I was denied the entry visa,” he said.
On inquiring the reason for refusal, he was informed by the British High Commission that the letter of invitation ‘was not strong’ enough. “Though I have been selected as the number three guide in the world and as the number one guide in Asia, this was not enough to get a visa,” he said, adding: “It is unfortunate that though we have world class guides who serve in this industry, they are denied the opportunity of receiving their awards by the very country that recognized them in the first place.”