What Makes a Good Travel Guide?

On October 4 the excellent British travel magazine Wanderlust will announce the winner of their annual guide awards. Named after the late Paul Morrison, one of the founders of Wanderlust, the awards recognise excellence in travel guiding. Bill Bryson and Michael Palin will select the winner from a short list of six tour guides that work in countries as diverse as Mongolia, Egypt and Romania.

In your opinion what are the qualities a great guide must possess?

In my recent trip to Oman, the wonderful Hilal came close to perfection with a winning combination of humour, energy and a profound love of his country. His skill at juggling an MP3 player and a cellphone while threading a 4WD through the maze of Omani dunes was also pretty impressive.