UNWTO honours Lonely Planet founders

MADRID, 2 February 2017: Tony and Maureen Wheeler, co-founders of the widely-known Lonely Planet Publications received the 13th UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Award recently.

The prize is conferred every year to individuals with visionary leadership who make significant contributions to the global tourism sector.

Lonely Planet inspired travellers, writers and the tourism sector, worldwide,  a role that constituted the main reason why the UNWTO presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to the Wheelers.

Tony & Maureen Wheeler shootThe couple founded Lonely Planet Publications in 1972, after a trip across Asia. In the last 40 years, their guidebooks have sold over 100 million copies in English and other languages. Lonely Planet also ventured into many other travel areas including a television series and an award-winning travel website.

The work of Tony and Maureen Wheeler goes beyond the Lonely Planet Publications and has reached a wider scope through the Planet Wheeler Foundation. It is currently involved in more than 50 projects in the developing world, principally in Southeast Asia and East Africa, with a focus on poverty alleviation.

In addition, the London Business School hosts the Tony & Maureen Wheeler Chair of Entrepreneurship whose work concentrates on entrepreneurship in the developing world.

In Melbourne, Australia, the creation of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas played a key role in the city’s recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature. Maureen is the chairperson of the annual Melbourne Arts Festival and was the principal patron of Opera Australia’s production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Melbourne in 2013 and 2016.

Tony is a director of Global Heritage Fund, which works to protect and develop archaeological sites in the developing world.