Honorary Aussies Tony and Maureen Wheeler have been recognised for their contribution to the travel industry and been appointed officers of the Order of Australia (AM).
The Lonely Planet founders have been recognised on the Queen’s Birthday 2014 honour list for their distinguished service to business and commerce as a publisher of travel guides, and as benefactors to Australian arts and aid organisations.
The Wheelers, who hail from the UK but have called Australia home for the past 40 years, started Lonely Planet Publications in 1973.
In 2008, they also launched Planet Wheeler Foundation, which funds projects aimed at alleviating poverty in the developing world.
Tony Wheeler says out of all their work, it’s nice to recognised for Lonely Planet.
Although the Wheelers no longer own the company, Wheeler says he’s still very proud of it.
“The fact that it was an Australian creation I just think is fantastic,” he says.
“We think of it here in Australia as being a very Australian company, and it’s there in the English language in America and Canada, and New Zealand and the UK … but actually it’s everywhere else as well.
“You go to China now and the young Chinese who really want to travel, they’re obsessed with Lonely Planet.”
Also receiving recognition for his contribution to the travel industry is Christopher Brown, the former managing director of the Tourism and Transport Forum for 19 years.
Brown has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for significant service to the tourism, infrastructure and transport sectors through leadership roles, and to the community.