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Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story

Paperback - 01 May 2007
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Founders of the phenomenally successful publishing company Lonely Planet, Tony and Maureen Wheeler have produced travel guides to just about every corner of the globe.

Lonely Planet Publications was born in 1973 when the Wheelers self-published a quirky travel guide, Across Asia on the Cheap. This was quickly followed by what soon became the backpackers' bible, South-East Asia on a Shoestring. Going boldly where no other travel publisher had ventured, they catered to a new generation of independent, budget-conscious travelers long before the advent of mass tourism.

Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story is a unique mix of autobiography, business history and travel book. It traces Tony and Maureen Wheeler's personal story as well as the often bumpy evolution of their travel guide business into the world's largest independent travel publishing company.

Not surprisingly, after thirty years in the business, the Wheelers have an unrivaled set of anecdotes which they share in Unlikely Destinations: The Lonely Planet Story. They have been hassled by customs, cheated by accountants, let down by writers, banned in Malawi, berated for their Burma guide and had books pirated in Vietnam. Tony has been gored by a cow in Benares, declared dead around the world in an assortment of gruesome and greatly exaggerated accounts and their company has been accused of the Lonely Planetization of the world.

Through it all, from the heady days of discovery in the '70s to the rocky patch after the September 11th terrorist attacks, the Wheelers' passion for the planet and traveling hasn't diminished and comes shining through in this enthralling travelogue. But above all, their memoir reveals the spirit of adventure that has made them, according to the New York Daily News, the specialists in guiding weird folks to weird places.

Customer Reviews

1 customer reviews Between 3−4 stars rating, 09 January 2019
The Extraordinary Adventure
By: Dine Rostianti

This book is full of the experiences of Tony and Maureen Wheeler, from the brief background of their respective families, their first meeting, until their struggle to establish and develop a company named Lonely Planet.

In the early years of Lonely Planet, Tony and Maureen Wheeler were financially constrained, but because of their love for the world of traveling, they continued to struggle to maintain this company. There is a lesson that can be learned from their struggle, that in order to be successful in business, a person must have a love for the business field, and not merely pursue instant financial profits.

Tony and Maureen tell interesting stories behind... See More

the scene of a travel guidebooks publisher. The journey of a travel guidebook writer is not like a tourist on vacation. The authors are pursued in conducting surveys at their destination and completing books according to deadlines. The travel guidebooks business also faces various challenges from various parties, such as from restaurant and hotel entrepreneurs who are dissatisfied with reviews from Lonely Planet, copyright issues, to the protest from the governments who consider that the contents of Lonely Planet's guidebooks not in accordance with their country’s policies.

Lonely Planet produces various travel guidebooks for various market segments, from star-rated hotel classes to back packer classes. Many funny and unusual stories that Tony and Maureen met on trips in various parts of the world. Tony tells of this long journey with a funny and light style, interesting even for people who are not the adventurous types and prefer to spend their leisure time at home.

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