Following the 'hippy trail' from England to Australia in the 1970s led to the creation of Lonely Planet Publications. From a single self-published title the business grew to more than 500 staff, offices on three continents and 100 million books sold before BBC-Worldwide's takeover was completed in 2011. Despite which Tony's interest in travel is still very active. In recent years that has included riding a stage in the Tour d'Afrique bicycle ride, driving from London to Gambia in West Africa in an old car and then driving around Switzerland in a Tesla electric sports car or travelling to Baikonur in Kazakhstan to see a 'space tourist' ride a Soyuz rocket up to the international space station.
Tony claims that each year he spends six months at his home in London, six months at his home in Melbourne, and six months everywhere else. With a wife, Maureen, who is not only 'handsome' and 'pretty,' but also a 'belle from Belfast City' he also has a keen interest in Ireland and co-authored the first Lonely Planet Ireland guide and wrote their first Dublin guide. He's currently working on a follow up to Bad Lands, his book on travelling through George W Bush's 'Axis of Evil' trio and assorted other misguided countries.
Details of this year's festival programme can be found elsewhere on this website.