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Simon Calder at 25: The most impressive travel innovators | The Independent

Simon Calder at 25: The most impressive travel innovators | The Independent

Over the past two-and-a-half decades I have met many impressive men and women who have helped to give the UK the best travel industry in the world.

Among them are 25 “travel heroes” whose expertise and energy have improved life for travellers. In the first of a five-part series, here are the most impressive travel innovators.

Each has provided a travel tip and a happiest travel memory.

Maureen Wheeler, Lonely Planet co-founder

Maureen Wheeler fishing off the Kimberley Coast in Western Australia

(Maureen Wheeler)

Across Asia on the Cheap was the first Lonely Planet guidebook – the ‘how we did it’ account of the journey by the original UK backpackers, Tony and Maureen Wheeler. The yellow guide was published in 1973, and to mark the 21st anniversary Maureen organised a travel summit at the LP headquarters in Melbourne. Top of the agenda: information, inspiration and the internet.

Travel tip: “My favourite travel motto, from Kurt Vonnegut, is, ‘Strange travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God’.”

Happiest travel memory: “Trying to pick one from a lifetime of happy travels is a very difficult task. Having spent quite a bit of time mulling over what particular bit of a trip would qualify for ‘happiest’ memory, I have decided to go with one of my all-time favourite trips. Two weeks spent flying across the top end of Australia with my husband Tony and six great friends. Apart from the spectacular scenery, the ancient cave art and my catching, on my very first fishing attempt, a decent sized fish, the eight of us seemed to laugh non-stop. Not sure what was so funny looking back, but every meal erupted in hilarity.

“Of course there was slapstick – Nick walking into a pool fully clothed, carrying a glass of brandy as he tried to make out constellations in the southern sky, and there was no entendre left undoubled as one wag put it, but the combination of people and place was magic.”

Sir Richard Branson, Virgin…

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