UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement


The UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement is conferred to recognize a lifetime achievement of individuals with visionary leadership and significant contribution throughout the nominee’s career as an inspirational role model for the development at the local, national, regional or international level. The selection of the UNWTO Award for Lifetime Achievement will be reserved to the international Jury of Experts of the UNWTO Awards in recognition of the global significance of this category. No external nominations or applications for this award category shall be accepted.

Lifetime Achievement Awardees

Mr. and Mrs. Wheeler - 2017 UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Awardees
A trek along Asia’s ‘hippie trail’ in 1972 led Tony and Maureen   Wheeler to establish Lonely Planet Publications and over the following four decades to produce hundreds of guidebooks which have now sold well over 100 million copies in English as well as in numerous other languages. Lonely Planet also ventured into many other travel areas including a television series and an award-winning travel website. The New York Times described Tony as ‘the trailblazing patron saint of the world’s backpackers and adventure travelers.
’Since the sale of Lonely Planet Tony and Maureen have been involved in numerous other activities, many of them with a travel connection. The foundation they first established within Lonely Planet now works with more than 50 projects in the developing world, principally in Southeast Asia and East Africa. The projects are mainly involved with education and health, but Tony and Maureen’s interests extend far further.

The Tony & Maureen Wheeler Chair of Entrepreneurship at London Business School is held by Professor Rajesh Chandy whose work concentrates on entrepreneurship in the developing world. In Melbourne, Australia the creation of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing & Ideas played a key role in the city’s recognition as a UNESCO City of Literature. Maureen is the Chairperson of the annual Melbourne Arts Festival and the Principal Patron of Opera Australia’s production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Melbourne in 2013 and 2016. Tony is a director of Global Heritage Fund, which works to protect and develop archaeological sites in the developing world.

Tony’s interest in our world’s more unusual travel destinations led him to write Lonely Planet’s Bad Lands and later Dark Lands. He is currently working on a new book on The Islands of Australia – there are more than 8,000 of them – for the National Library of Australia and on Lonely Planet’s forthcoming Epic Drives of the World.


Mr. Arthur Haulot - 2016 UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Born in Belgium in 1913, Arthur Haulot founded the International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO/OITS) in Belgium in 1963. The Organization regrouped 170 active organizations in 35 countries in the Americas, Europe and Africa. The ISTO/OITS is currently an international non-profit organization whose mission is to promote access to leisure, holidays and tourism for all.

Mr Haulot was also President of the International Union of Official Travel Organisations (IUOTO), precursor of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Mr Haulot was instrumental in the foundation of the European Travel Commission (1946), the first Regional Commission within IUOTO, where he became chairman and played a key role in the granting of United Nations (UN) consultative status to IUOTO in 1948 and the designation by the UN of 1967 as the International Year of Tourism. In 1973, he founded the International Bureau of Social Tourism and became its Secretary General until 1988.

Honorary doctorate from the Free University of Brussels, Mr Haulot was a writer, a poet and the founder of the Biennale de Poésie de Liege. Arthur Haulot was also the director of ‘Journal of Poets’ and the president of the International House of Poetry. He was a member of the Socialist Party, established the basis of the National Youth Council and one of the pioneers for ensuring the rights to tourism for all, social tourism.

Mr Haulot dedicated his life to tourism – in 1938 he was appointed as inspector at the National Holiday Office workers and later in 1939 as Commissioner General for Tourism, a post he held for thirty-three ears.

Mr Haulot passed away on May 25, 2005. The posthumous Award was presented to his family during the UNWTO Awards Ceremony on 20th January 2016 in the framework of the Spanish Tourism Fair FITUR.

Mr. Richard Quest - 2013 UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Awardee

Richard Quest

Richard Quest is CNN’s foremost international business correspondent and presenter of Quest Means Business; delivering the definitive word on how we earn and spend our money.

Quest’s dynamic and distinctive style has made him a unique figure in the field of business broadcasting. He has regularly reported from G20 meetings and attends the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland each year. Quest has covered every major stock market and financial crisis since Black Monday in 1987 and has reported from key financial centres globally including Wall Street, London, Sao Paolo, Tokyo and Hong Kong.

In addition, Quest is the established airline and aviation correspondent at CNN. He currently presents the monthly CNN Business Traveller show, the authoritative guide to making the most of doing business on the road - moving from A to B on company time. As a business travel specialist, Quest has become a voice of authority on subjects like the launch of the Airbus A380.

He also co-presents the monthly Market Place Europe show, which puts the spotlight on one of the world’s most influential and interconnected continents as Europe faces up to the economic challenges and opportunities of the next 10 years.

His coverage of breaking news, which has spanned two decades, has seen him report on a range of stories from, the death of Yasser Arafat, the Lockerbie Pan Am 103 crash to the death of Michael Jackson. Quest is more than just business; there are few journalists who have had guests as varied, from His Holiness, The Dalai Lama to actress Joan Collins to founder of Playboy Magazine, Hugh Hefner.

Quest is British, holds an Honours degree in Law from Leeds University, and was called to the Bar.

Mr. Shao Qiwei - 2012 UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Awardee - Public Sector

Shao Qiwei

Mr. Qiwei has played a pivotal role in the development of Chinese domestic and international tourism since taking up his position as Chairman of CNTA and President of the China Tourism Association (CTA). Mr Rifai said, “Under his leadership, China has become one of the world’s tourism leaders, contributing also to the growing political recognition of the sector".

Tourism institutional improvement. Through his efforts and with his innovative team, the document ´Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Tourism Industry´ was released by the State Council of China in 2009.

Tourism sustainability. Under his chairmanship China’s inbound tourism arrivals ranked third from the seventh in 2004. The double-digit growth rate for domestic tourism makes China the biggest domestic tourism market with 2.6 billion person/times.

Social employment and poverty alleviation. At present, direct employment in tourism industry in China totals over 13.5 million and indirect employment totals 80 million.

Mr. Gabriel Escarrer - 2012 UNWTO Lifetime Achievement Awardee - Private Sector

Mr. Gabriel Escarrer In 1956, Gabriel Escarrer Juliá was only 21 years old when he founded what was later to become Meliá Hotels International, renting and managing a 60-room hotel on the island of Majorca.

Mr. Escarrer then “jumped” to the Canary islands, where he still manages more than 25 hotels; he soon became the Spanish leader and an active agent for the Spanish Tourism “boom” during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.

He also promoted the company’s growth through the acquisition of several National and International companies, such as Meliá, TRYP or Innside, through the creation of new-developed brands such as ME by Meliá or Paradisus Resorts, and through a variety of innovative strategic alliances with regional leaders like Wyndham Hotel Group in the United States, or Jin Jiang Group in China.

In 1996, the company became the first hotel management chain in Europe to be quoted on the stock market, facing a wide renovation plan of the company’s products and a strengthening of the financial balance. More recently, the company has successfully come over the industry’s crisis from 2008-2010 with new projects and a strategic focus on Asia-Pacific and the specialization on hotel management and franchising.

Currently, Melià has more than 350 hotels in 35 countries and employs more than 35.000 people from more than 100 countries.