Lonely Planet: the story of the most famous guide in the world

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Lonely Planet: the history of the most famous tour guide in the world has been made known, and with it also many anecdotes. First of all, the name. In reality, in fact, Lonely Planet, which every year identifies the best places to visit and dispenses tips for traveling, was to be called Lovely. The reason why it did not happen was explained directly by Tony Wheeler, founder together with his wife Maureen of the publishing house that bears the same name as the guide.

He says that while they were thinking about the name they were listening to Space Captain, whose opening words are 'Once I was traveling across the sky / This lonely planet caught my eye'. In reality only later did they notice that Joe Cocker said 'lovely planet', but by now the name had been chosen. And this is how, back in 1973, they gave life to the first detailed volume of the Lonely Planet, a do-it-yourself travel guide aimed at penniless twenty-year-old globetrotters, which bore the title Across Asia on the cheap.

It is therefore clear that the history of Lonely Planet is directly connected to that of the Wheelers, who after having met on a bench in London, began to travel around the world, coming to visit well 160 Countries. And their passion immediately turned into a full-time job. Because if their first trip was organized for pure pleasure, the second already had the precise objective of seeking information and creating a guide. From the very beginning, the Lonely Planet guides contained information on vaccinations and transport, as well as historical notes and advice for itineraries.

Over time, Lonely Planet has changed, and today it also recommends hotels and restaurants for more affluent people, who can therefore leave with some extra cash in their pocket. But the intent always remains one, the original one: to advise destinations and trips even those who cannot afford to pay for hotels or travel with a lot of money. There are many who decide every year to buy Lonely Planet guides for their travels. In Italy they were introduced on the market starting from 1992 and immediately met with enormous success.

Cultural itineraries
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