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Tony Wheeler

Founder, Lonely Planet


Tony Wheeler MSc05(1972) is the co-founder of Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guidebook publishers, which he set up with his wife, Maureen, in 1973 after travelling Asia’s ‘hippie trail’.


Since then, Wheeler has worked on numerous Lonely Planet titles including the award-winning India guide and the best-selling Australia guide. The couple, who reside in Australia, sold 75% of their stake to BBC Worldwide in 2007, before selling their remaining equity in 2011.


In 2008, the couple set up the Planet Wheeler Foundation to support development projects that focus on education, health, human rights and building communities in the developing world. Wheeler was also involved in establishing Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas, an initiative that helped gain UNESCO City of Literature status for the city.


Wheeler studied engineering at the University of Warwick, which, along with Monash University, has since awarded him an honourary doctor of letters. He worked briefly for General Motors before studying at London Business School. Today, Wheeler is on the board of Global Heritage Fund, which works to protect and develop archaeological sites in the developing world. He received the Alumni Achievement Award in 1998.


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