Loved to death
By Tony and Maureen Wheeler
Loved to death. These days it's a phrase that more and more travel possibilities get tarnished with.
We scratch our heads and wonder just when Bali's Kuta or India's Goa morphed from quiet surfer escapes or laid back hippy hangouts into international resorts of wall to wall shops, restaurants and package hotels. Cities the world over worry about how they're going to cope with ever increasing flows of tourists.
At Lonely Planet sustainable and responsible have always been parts of our vocabulary. In our early days, those key words had yet to be irrevocably linked with tourism. But looking back at our earlier books it's pretty clear that we realised from the start that making a connection to the places we visited was a vital part of the sage message we wanted our guidebooks to carry, right down to how they are produced.
Today, more than ever, we're utterly convinced of the incredible importance of travel. It's only through travelling, through meeting people that we begin to understand that we're all sharing this world. We are all coming along for the ride, despite the barriers which governments, religions and economic and political beliefs often seem to build up between us.
With information on this website and in our books, we hope to inspire you to try a new, far more rewarding, way of travelling.
So how do we make that ride not just a quick fairground twirl, but something that we can enjoy for our travelling lives and pass on to our children and future generations? By changing our travel habits and thinking differently about how, where and why we travel. 'Responsible travel' means assessing our impact on the environment and local cultures and economies - and acting to make that impact as positive as possible. We're including more information in our guidebooks and on this website on how you can personally travel more responsibly.
Responsible tourism has incredible potential to have a positive impact on some of our most pressing global issues: peace and poverty, not to mention the influence it can have on biodiversity conservation. As a company, we have committed to ensuring all our staff travel is 'carbon neutral' by paying to offset the carbon emissions of our airline flights through the pro-environment projects of ClimateCare.
By 2020 it's estimated that 1.5 billion people will be travelling each year. It's not hard to understand how each one of us needs to consider our personal contribution (as Lonely Planet does) to sustaining the natural and cultural wonders of our planet so that future generations can enjoy the same life-changing adventures we have shared.
Today there's no way of avoiding the importance of travelling responsibly. With the information on this website and in our books, we hope to inspire you to try a new, far more rewarding, way of travelling.
Tony and Maureen Wheeler
Founders, Lonely Planet Publications.