SYDNEY, Oct 2, 2007 (AFP) – The founders of Lonely Planet guidebooks said Tuesday that they decided to sell the “backpackers’ Bible” to BBC Worldwide because they wanted to “move on” and have more time for travel. Tony and Maureen Wheeler founded the hugely successful publishing business 34 years ago when they compiled a list of tips after setting out from Europe and travelling across Asia before reaching Australia.
The Australian-based business has expanded to some 500 titles carrying advice on accommodation, dining and transport for budget travellers venturing to destinations across the globe.
Tony Wheeler said he and his wife decided to sell a 75 percent of the business to BBC Worldwide so Lonely Planet could take full advantage of new technologies.
“The digital world of travel continues to grow and in many ways is replacing the print world and we decided that if Lonely Planet was going to continue to grow as fast and as strong as it should do in that area we needed a partner,” he said in a video posted on the Lonely Planet website Tuesday.
Maureen Wheeler said the pair decided to sell after receiving assurances that BBC Worldwide would retain the publishing side of the business.