Tony Wheeler and Maureen Wheeler, founders of
Lonely Planet Publications, have received the 13th UNWTO Lifetime
The prize is conferred every year to
individuals with visionary leadership and significant
contributions to the global tourism sector.
The inspirational role that Lonely Planet
inferred worldwide to travelers, writers and the tourism sector in
general has been the major reason to concede the UNWTO Lifetime
Achievement Award to the Wheelers.
The 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 travel website.
The work of Tony and Maureen
Wheeler goes beyond 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
In Melbourne, Australia the creation of the Wheeler Centre
for Books, Writing & 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 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.
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