The Automobile Association (Great Britain) has been publishing travel guidessince around 1910; and by 1929they were issuing 239,000 routes a year. In 2003 this number had risen to a staggering 32 million. The AA (Great Britain) has always produced routes and travel guides, a business activity that has grown rapidly in recent years – AA Publishing is now the UK's largest travel publisher, producing more than 8 million books in 2003.Begining in 1912 the AA also started to inspect hotels, and those receiving the AA's famous star classification were included in subsequent editions of the Members' Handbook. Todaythe associationinspects and rates more than 8,000 hotels and bed and breakfast establishments each year and review almost 2,000 restaurants, publishing the results in a series of annual guides.
John Julius Norwich is the author of The Great Cities in History as well as magisterial histories of Norman Sicily, the republic of Venice, and the Byzantine Empire. He has also written widely on architecture and music, and has presented some thirty BBC television historical documentaries.