Tony Wheeler

Travel was much different when Maureen and Tony Wheeler published their first Lonely Planet travel book in 1973. Airports were public spaces and luggage was checked, not screened. The Wheelers’ guidebooks helped thousands of travelers navigate the world and visit exotic spots for the first time. Tony Wheeler joins us to discuss how travel has changed since the company’s early days and his involvement with the Global Heritage Fund’s sustainable tourism efforts.

Guests:
Tony Wheeler,
co-founder, Lonely Planet; author, “Tony Wheeler’s Dark Lands”

Lonely Planet Co-Founder Tony Wheeler Wants You to Travel the World 9 November,2017Michael Krasny

  • jakeleone

    Any kind of unnecessary movement, creates green house gas, unnecessarily. Given that fact, how do we justify travel for pleasure? So we can make sure to get to Politcal Correctness heaven, when we die? And so that future generations will not despise any more than is necessary.

    • Whamadoodle

      See my reply to Beth, above. Travel has benefits to business, to local economies, and to international amity, as well as being enriching in a way that one’s home country just can’t provide, no matter how great your country is (let alone if you have a dreary country–you’re going to sentence Britons to swim and bicycle all the way there if they want to go to Greece, or just stay in Birmingham?).

      If you want to solve greenhouse gas issues, have no children. That will do three times as much to solve global climate change and greenhouse gas problems as it would if you never entered a plane.

      • De Blo

        Yes!

      • Noelle

        Before airline travel there used to be “holiday camps” at various British coastal towns(not as nice as Greece, of course).

        • Whamadoodle

          True! Those were dreary years 🙂

  • Beth Grant DeRoos

    Does Tony Wheeler not understand the huge carbon footprint world travel has on our environment? I much prefer encouraging people stay home and make their local habitat better.

    • Whamadoodle

      There is a carbon footprint from world travel, and it is a serious thing. However, in addition to the financial benefits to countries we visit, there are diplomatic benefits as travel increases international empathy and amity. Also, there are experiences you can only have in a foreign country, which are enriching.

      Anyone concerned with the carbon footprint can do far more by not having any children. That decreases your carbon footprint about three times as much as if you never entered an airplane.

      • Curious

        Gore’s carbon footprint is more than that of most middle size cities. Great example to follow!

        • Whamadoodle
          • Curious

            Very delusional.

          • Whamadoodle

            Oh? Would you care to tell us all which of those vacation trips Trump DIDN’T actually take?

            You are a paid shill.

            You lie.

          • Curious

            Ex-President Barack Obama will be the costliest former commander-in-chief, with taxpayers shelling out $1,153,000 for his expenses in 2018, according to the Congressional Research Service.

            His budget request is more than $100,000 higher than George W. Bush’s for next year and nearly $200,000 more than Bill Clinton’s expected budget.

            George H.W. Bush is slated to get $942,000, while Jimmy Carter will get less than half that, at just $456,000, according to a memo prepared by the service, which was first reported by the Washington Times.

          • Whamadoodle

            Ahem–I said, would you care to tell us all which of those vacation trips Trump DIDN’T actually take?

            Well?

            Your figures are fake.

          • Curious

            During his eight years in the White House, Obama played a total of 306 rounds of golf, more than Tiger Woods, a professional golfer.
            Obama’s passion for golf contrasted with that of his predecessor, George W. Bush, who played just 24 times in office.

          • Whamadoodle

            You admit that Trump’s vacation time dwarfs Obama’s, though, just as the article says, right?

            After all, you’ve ducked the question as to which Trump trips the article lied about, so you can’t challenge any of them. So you admit that Trump took all those trips, right, paid shill?

  • William – SF

    Would be fun ‘cept for stagnating wages, threat of elimination of health care due to pre-existing condition, or substantial premium increases, transfer of wealth to DJT, Republicans politicians, their donors, the wealthy, and Koch Brothers, threat of a tax increase because the aforementioned needs more wealth, and the guilt around contributing greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

    • Noelle

      Yes, at least in my experience, my Paid Time Off instead of going up because of my growing work experience has gone down. Contract work is the reason why.

    • Curious

      The economy is booming under Trump after Barry’s unprecedented failure.

      • William – SF

        Dude, President Obama and the Democrats took a cratering Republican economy, unemployment over 10%, and stock market in the 6 thousands to historically highest corporate profits, unemployment at 5% and decreasing, and stock market over 21 thousand.

  • Ben Rawner

    Before the ubiquitus internet age, I shlepped my thorough and heavy lonely planet guide all over Europe. How has the digital age evolved the way these guides are developed and featured?

  • Ehkzu

    Travel has a carbon footprint. If that were the only consideration, I suppose we should limit ourselves to where we can go by foot or bicycle. On the other hand. cars and airliners are getting progressively better fuel mileage, a mititaging factor. But more importantly, were it not for tourism, many historical and natural landmarks would have been lost. Scuba diving and snorkeling are responsible for preserving many coral reef ecosystems that would otherwise have been lost to destructive fishing techniques. Tourists can also kill with kindness, so to speak, but overall tourists have done a world of good by giving locals financial incentive to preserve their heritage.

    And people who have traveled are different from those who haven’t. No amount of watching PBS and Discovery Channel specials can substitute. I’m reasonably certan that Trump has never gone camping or visited, say, a Balinese water temple. Parochial people in positions of power are a threat to all of us.

    • Whamadoodle

      Well said. The diplomatic benefits from international travel are far preferable to having a couple of hundred countries where no one ever visits anyone or gets to know any other peoples; the latter situation leads to insularity, nationalism, and a lack of caring or empathy for other nations.

    • Curious

      “Travel has a carbon footprint.”

      Exactly why the Obamas’ habit of taking separate planes to the same destination minutes apart is unforgivable, as were Barry’s frequent flights into the desert to play golf on water sucking courses.

      • Whamadoodle

        As you know, Trump has taken more vacation time in a few months than Obama took in years, and he took planes to get there. Nice try, paid shill.

    • Curious

      “I’m reasonably certan (sic) that Trump has never gone camping or visited, say, a Balinese water temple.”

      Barry and Michele spent weeks every year in that most profound of places – the Hampton’s – while dining on Wagyu beef and lobster. Such intellectuals!

      • Whamadoodle

        The Obamas took several DOZEN trips abroad, during his presidential administration alone.

        • Curious

          Known as hyper-luxury vacations, including to countries that are among the worst violators of human rights – where they talked trash about the US.

          • Whamadoodle

            “Known” to whom? The Karl Rove fake spam propaganda outfits who pay people like you to spam “Barry is bad” spam on social media?

            Phony stories pretended they spent a lot of money on them, but as you know, Trump has spent WAY more time doing golf vacations in a few months than Obama ever did. You lie. You are a paid shill. No one is fooled.

  • sal

    My boyfriend and I went to Morocco last year and spent election day in the Sahara on a camel tour. Lonely planet was an excellent guide book. All the information was accurate and succinct. While other guide books allow a type of escapism with their images and whimsical illustrations, Lonely planet was practical and spot on. We look forward to traveling more!

  • Ben Rawner

    Has your guest been to the Ancient Greek cities in Syria? The pictures of Palmyra and Aleppo pre-war are amazing. Seeing these Hellenistic monuments in real life would be breathtaking.

  • Doria Moodie

    Hello from Vancouver BC. Has your guest visited the poles? My husband and I have always wanted to visit our Canadian Arctic before it’s terribly changed through climate change. There’s a cruise/research company that does wonderful trips to the poles called One Ocean Expeditions and we have drooled over their trips for several years. In the last 8 years I have become a relatively successful artist in BC, and to my delight I was recently invited to be the artist in residence on board their ships for 2 trips next summer. So if you have a marketable skill, there are ways to travel without spending a fortune. You have to work though!

  • Ehkzu

    Even Americans who travel often hesitate to go to really foreign countries. It’s a snap for Americans to visit Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. And Hawaii, which is/isn’t foreign. And really, continental Europe isn’t hard either–lots of English speakers in the big cities, and you’re still surrounded by Western Civilization. But when we went to Japan, Taiwain, the Philippines, Indonesia…those are different.

    The saddest thing is when people go to a foreign country by landing at an airport, being picked up by a van from the resort, spending a week at the resort, waited on by English-speaking help, coming home and saying you’ve been to another country. Every country that gets tourists has one or more Tourist Zones that aren’t much better than those isolated resorts. You have to escape these to really experience foreign countries. Just bring a phrasebook and learn a few words of the local language, starting with “please” and “thank you.” You’ll come back with a far, far richer experience. And guidebooks like Lonely Planet help you get out of the tourist traps.

  • Winjas

    Please, what is the latest on safe places in Mexico for a single woman? I’m dying to go and possibly retire there.

    • Ehkzu

      We were just in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Felt perfectly safe. And a year before tha in La Paz and San Jose del Cabo in Baja–also felt safe.

    • De Blo

      Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita are completely safe.

      • Winjas

        I always heard these places are safe, however, they have State warnings recently posted?

        • Whamadoodle

          We went to both towns this year, and had no problem (well, except stomach illness in PV–don’t get beef in Mexico. Oh, also, the bus drivers were CRAZY there). But they were GREAT places to visit. I felt no less safe (besides in the bus) than I do in northern California.

    • Robert Thomas

      Now the Americans are gone except for two
      The embassy’s been hard to reach
      There’s been talk and lately a bit of action after dark
      Behind the big casino on the beach

      The rules are changed
      It’s not the same
      It’s all new players in a whole new ball game

      Last night I dreamed of an old lover dressed in gray
      I’ve had this fever now since yesterday
      Wake up darling they’re knocking; the Colonel’s standing in the sun
      With his stupid face the glasses and the gun

      I know what happens
      I read the book
      I believe I just got the goodbye look

      “The Goodbye Look”
      Donald Fagen
      The Nightfly, 1982

    • John

      I like Guanajuato and Oaxaca. San Miguel has a lot of expats.

  • Robert Thomas

    To which locales does Mr Wheeler travel where he carries with him a cyanide capsule, to forestal the possibility that individuals may have their lives imperiled as they are despatched to rescue him, should he be forcibly detained by mercenary malefactors?

  • De Blo

    Airbnb has dramatically revolutionized travel globally, making it more immersive, cheaper, more fun, and more purely beneficial for the tourist/ guest and local/ host. Best way to meet real people, see real neighborhoods, and learn the local culture.

    • Ehkzu

      We’ve used AirBnB in Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan and in Cebu City in the Philippines. Both were great–and mor eimmersive as you say.

  • De Blo

    I will be in Shanghai for the first time next month. Any tips?

    • Curious

      No, they won’t accept tips.

  • Noelle

    If you can’t afford to go to Japan, go to 10,000 Waves in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It has a Japanese-style spa, a beautiful restaurant with a view of the hills and a guest house. The architecture and landscape were so perfectly Japanese, very peaceful.

  • Ehkzu

    re: scuba diving. I’ve been on over 900 dives in 178 countries from the Caribbean, and Bali is one of the best values. Raja Ampat is better but far more dangerous. Pacific Islands can be great but far more expensive. Bali represents a great value for scuba diving, with lots more to do when you aren’t diving than most other places we go to dive. Our last dive trip to Bali was a 2+ week trip 2 years ago. It cost us $2,700 each including airfare (EVA, which is the best airline to go to Asia on), 3 star resorts, 9 days of scuba diving, all meals, all surface transportation, all tips. We haven’t found anywhere else to match that. Especially since Bali has hyperbaric chambers and safe, competent dive operators. We usually spend our last 3 days in Ubud, visiting things like the Neka Art Museum and the Bali Bird Park…and dance/music concerts.

  • Robert Thomas

    Americans benefit from the fact that the people who populate much of the Earth have no control at all over the despotic regimes who pay their young men to carry weapons. Thus, they imagine that neither do Americans have any such control and so ignore the culpability of its citizens in the actions of the U.S. government. I’ve had this explained to me more or less identically, in a matter-of-fact way, in more than one region of strife.

    • Whamadoodle

      Well… we DON’T really have any control.

      We have elections, but the more violence-loving party has gerrymandered and engaged in voter suppression so effectively that Democrats’ voices have the thumb on the scales against them. What can we do about it if a president like George W. Bush (or our current president-like substance) feels like starting another Iraq War-like thing, against yet another country that never attacked us?

      • Robert Thomas

        Excuse making is easy. We are not helpless. We have just failed. We individual Americans bare far, far more culpability than any other state power in human history. Wherever I’ve traveled, I’ve seriously considered ahead of time how to respond to demands for an explanation of my country’s behavior. So far, they’ve been few.

        In contrast, our sworn enemies see more clearly:

        “‘… [American hostage Steven Sotloff’s] killing was the consequence of US arrogance and transgression which all US citizens are responsible for as they are represented by the government they have elected, approved of, and supported, through votes, polls, and taxes.’- Issue #4 of ISIS’s “Dabiq” magazine, October 2014″

        “The Islamists”
        By Cameron Glenn
        The Wilson Center, Nov 19, 2015
        https://www.wilsoncenter.org/article/the-isis-primer

        • Whamadoodle

          I shouldn’t say “we don’t have any control”–but what I should say, and what is true, is that “we” includes so many people who want to destroy human (and every other kind of) life that the portion of “we” who don’t want that are overruled.

          If that weren’t true, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Please tell me, how did “we” fail, when I NEVER voted for anyone promising to be careless about what wars s/he started, voted for the more pacifist candidate whenever possible, and vocally called out and demonstrated against such wars every chance I got? What else could we have done?

          • Curious

            Barry lied.

          • Whamadoodle

            You are a paid shill who fools no one. You lie.

          • Curious

            You are an angry, uneducated little person.

          • Whamadoodle

            Your refusal to admit that the Republicans who voted for the Iraq War were as wrong as the Democrats who did so proves that I am right. You are a paid shill.

        • Whamadoodle

          Shorter: if acknowledging failure to prevent war is merely “excuse making,” then why didn’t YOU stop it?

          What, specifically, was your failure, Robert Thomas?

          • Robert Thomas

            My failure was manifest. All of us who participate in democratic elections equally own their outcomes. I’m truly puzzled about how this appears to be lost on many people. I failed to work to convince my neighbors and also my relatives sufficiently, to persuade them to demand of their legislators that they oppose Joint Resolution 114 (taken on October 11, 2002). I wrote two letters to Senator Feinstein, to little avail. I ought to have done more. Obviously, I and my political party failed to elect Al Gore in 2000. I ought to have contributed more in that contest, too.

            My opposition to the Resolution was largely contingent on the impending passage of what would soon be United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 (November 8), which inaugurated the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission that was the result of months-long negotiations between IAEA representatives and the Iraqi regime (I had to look up these dates and so forth). After the October vote, I could only hope that the members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees (including the Senate Select Committee’s chair at the time, Dianne Feinstein) who approved the Resolution had knowledge unavailable to the public that was convincing in the matter, from the nation’s security apparatus that since their reorganization as the result of the Church Committee findings had striven to make their product conservative and reliable.

            Afterword, I despaired for the ongoing relationship between professional intelligence gatherers and sober members of these committees, since the former had revealed themselves to have been so easily manipulated by scurrilous political hacks in the White House and subsequently eager to throw up their hands, saying in effect, “Yes certainly… this was possibly the most critical and momentous crisis to do with nuclear capability at least since the Cuban Missile Crisis but all of our various entities among the civilian security agencies as well as those administered by the armed forces, jointly and severally, just screwed up. Oh, well. Sorry.” I fear that the resulting mistrust hasn’t been repaired.

          • Whamadoodle

            I appreciate your reply, Robert. However, I wonder if you aren’t overestimating your canvassing powers.

            As you’ve no doubt noticed, I’m capable of engaging in virtually endless conversation online, where I can reach the most people, and although you can’t witness this, I’m also open to extensive conversation in person. If someone is simply a liar, as the paid shill below is, then of course I sneer at them, but for anyone who is capable of being honest, I put my case before them without insult, name-calling, or any dishonesty of my own, and with factual data, generaly respectfully.

            In all my years of having such discussions, I’ve quite often had people, even those I start and end in disagreement with, express appreciation for the civil debate. I’ve also expressed the same thing in return.

            But do you know how many times I can recall having such a person announce that they’re going to change the candidate they’ll vote for, or that I can recall saying that to the other person? Zero.

            Zero.

            How about you? Surely you, too, can boast decades of such discussions, in which you’ve doubtless shared hundreds of pieces of factual data, often using sound logic? Have you ever ended ANY such discussion, even one, by hearing or saying, “you know, you’ve convinced me, I’m changing my vote”?

            Even in the last election, in which I believe I heard more people than usual saying “I’m on the fence,” I heard no one say any such thing as “you’ve convinced me.” Maybe you have, I don’t know; but if you haven’t, even though you’ve made so very many arguments over the years, then I’d say it’s just not logical to think “but if I’d just made this ONE more argument…”

      • Curious

        “What can we do about it if a president like George W. Bush (or our current president-like substance) feels like starting another Iraq War-like thing, against yet another country that never attacked us?”

        Bush had the approval of Congress. Barry’s attack on Libya was, on the other hand, unconstitutional and grounds for impeachment.

        • Whamadoodle

          As I said, Iraq had never attacked us. You admit that that’s true, right?

          • Curious

            Irrelevant.

          • Whamadoodle

            Sure, if you’re a paid shill who only gets paid if he spams “Obama is bad” over and over. If you want to have an honest discussion about what Robert and I were discussing, then it’s quite relevant.

            It’s “irrelevant” that Bush’s GOP led us into war against someone who never attacked us? It’s exactly what Robert and I were discussing.

          • Curious

            Robert never mentioned attacking countries that have not attacked us. You are unwilling to accept facts and debate issues. Biden, Clinton, Kerry et al were the driving forces behind the invasion of Iraq that was approved by Congress. Barry’s attack on Libya was, on the other hand, unconstitutional and grounds for impeachment.

          • Whamadoodle

            “Biden, Clinton, Kerry et al were the driving forces behind the invasion of Iraq”

            You lie.

            George W. Bush was the driving force behind the invasion of Iraq, as he and his vice president, and Condolleezza Rice and Colin Powell, were the ones who concocted the phony story about Iraq planning to attack us with weapons of mass destruction. None of the Democrats you name invented those stories.

            You lie.

          • Curious

            Rather than being a hapless victim of the Bush administration’s lies and manipulation, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of Iraq and making false statements regarding Saddam Hussein’s supposed possession of “weapons of mass destruction” years before President George W. Bush even came to office.

            As far back as 1998, Biden was calling for a U.S. invasion of that oil rich country. Even though UN inspectors and the UN-led disarmament process led to the elimination of Iraq’s WMD threat, Biden – in an effort to discredit the world body and make an excuse for war – insisted that UN inspectors could never be trusted to do the job. During Senate hearings on Iraq in September of that year, Biden told Ritter, “As long as Saddam’s at the helm, there is no reasonable prospect you or any other inspector is ever going to be able to guarantee that we have rooted out, root and branch, the entirety of Saddam’s program relative to weapons of mass destruction.”

            Calling for military action on the scale of the Gulf War seven years earlier, he continued, “The only way we’re going to get rid of Saddam Hussein is we’re going to end up having to start it alone,” telling the Marine veteran “it’s going to require guys like you in uniform to be back on foot in the desert taking Saddam down.”

            http://fpif.org/biden_iraq_and_obamas_betrayal/

          • Whamadoodle

            Biden’s 1998 call for action didn’t cause Bush, Powell, Rice, and Cheney to lie us into war in 2003, sorry. Nor did it make them give the “mushroom cloud” speech and other things they did to whip us into war.

            The Democrats who voted in favor of the Iraq War were as wrong to do so as the Republicans, however.

            But since you are a paid shill trying to discredit one party, you will not admit that. You will evade doing so, because you are dishonest, since you are a paid shill for the right wing.

          • Curious

            Interview with Tim Russert on NBC News’ “Meet the Press”
            April 29, 2007

            RUSSERT: I want to go back to 2002, because it’s important as to what people were saying then and what the American people were hearing. Here’s Joe Biden about Saddam Hussein: “He’s a long term threat and a short term threat to our national security.”
            “We have no choice but to eliminate the threat. This is a guy who is an extreme danger to the world.”
            “He must be dislodged from his weapons or dislodged from power.” You were emphatic about that.
            BIDEN: That’s right, and I was correct about that.

            RUSSERT: Where are [the WMDs]?

            BIDEN: Well, the point is, it turned out they didn’t, but everyone in the world thought he had them.

            The weapons inspectors said he had them. He catalogued–they catalogued them.

            This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream.

            This was, in fact, catalogued. They looked at them and catalogued. What he did with them, who knows? The real mystery is, if he, if he didn’t have any of them left, why didn’t he say so? Well, a lot of people say if he had said that, he would’ve, you know, emboldened Iran and so on and so forth.

          • Whamadoodle

            As I said, I find that Democrats who voted in favor of the Iraq War were as wrong to do so as the Republicans.

            However, since you are a paid shill for the right wing, you have proven it by being incapable of admitting the same thing about the Republicans. You’ve outed yourself (not that you’ve ever fooled anyone here, everyone finds your paid spam pretty obvious).

  • oscar

    Please, what is the latest on safe places in Mexico for a single woman? I’m dying to go and possibly retire there.

Host

Michael Krasny

Michael Krasny, PhD, has been in broadcast journalism since 1983. He was with ABC in both radio and television and migrated to public broadcasting in 1993. He has been Professor of English at San Francisco State University and also taught at Stanford, the University of San Francisco and the University of California, as well as in the Fulbright International Institutes. A veteran interviewer for the nationally broadcast City Arts and Lectures, he is the author of a number of books, including “Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life” (Stanford University Press) “Spiritual Envy” (New World); “Sound Ideas” (with M.E. Sokolik/ McGraw-Hill); “Let There Be Laughter” (Harper-Collins) as well as the twenty-four lecture series in DVD, audio and book, “Short Story Masterpieces” (The Teaching Company). He has interviewed many of the world’s leading political, cultural, literary, science and technology figures, as well as major figures from the world of entertainment. He is the recipient of many awards and honors including the S.Y. Agnon Medal for Intellectual Achievement; The Eugene Block Award for Human Rights Journalism; the James Madison Freedom of Information Award; the Excellence in Journalism Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association; Career Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and an award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association. He holds a B.A. (cum laude) and M.A. from Ohio University and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin.

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