April 2020 Amar Latif (born 4 December 1974) is a blind British entrepreneur, television presenter, actor, director, motivational speaker and world traveller. His blindness is due to the incurable eye condition retinitis pigmentosa. By the age of 18, he had 95% sight loss.
Amar is the founder and director of Traveleyes, the world's first commercial international air tour operator company to specialise in serving blind as well as sighted travellers. Established in 2005, Traveleyes now runs over 60 holidays a year, to destinations all over the globe. In founding this ground-breaking enterprise, Amar set out to ensure that visually impaired travellers should never have to accept restrictions on their world travel aspirations. A Scotsman now based in Leeds, Latif often personally acts as world tour-guide.
Education and Experience
Amar Latif gained a BSc in Mathematics, Statistics and Finance at the University of Strathclyde, spending part of his course in Canada at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. On leaving university, he trained as an accountant, and eventually became Head of Commercial Finance for British Telecom.
In 2007, he was presented with the inaugural Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Award. This award is presented by EasyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou in partnership with the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability. Latif's awards include the 2005 'Outstanding Young Business Entrepreneur of the World' and 'Outstanding Young Person of the UK', both awarded by the Chamber of Commerce International (JCI), the 2006 One Vision Man of the Year and the University of Strathclyde’s 2006 Alumnus of the Year award.
Amar Latif was a participant in the first series of the BBC Two documentary Beyond Boundaries. Broadcast in October and November 2005, the four-part programme explored the levels of endurance attainable by a group of travellers with various disabilities on a gruelling 220 mile trek from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua.
Latif also directed the Channel 4 documentary Sightseeing Blind, broadcast on 15 April 2007. Recent TV acting roles have included parts in the BBC Three surreal comedy series It's Adam and Shelley, and the BBC One drama series Love Soup with Tamsin Greig, produced by Verity Lambert, screened in early 2008. In 2010, he appeared as a special guest on the television cookery show Ready, Steady, Cook. In 2016, Amar appeared as a 'tour guide' in The Last Leg Goes Down Under on Channel 4.
In 2017 Latif presented Series One of the Channel 4 show 'How to Get Fit Fast' alongside Anna Richardson, and returned to present Series 2 in 2018. In the same year, Latif also presented an episode of the BBC documentary series 'River Walks', which was awarded both the Single Documentary category at the 2019 Royal Television Society Yorkshire Awards, and the Best Documentary award at the 2019 O2 Media Awards for Yorkshire and The Humber.
In 2019, Amar Latif was joined by comedian Sara Pascoe (in the principal capacity of a visual describer, or seeing guide) in the BBC Two travel documentary 'Travelling Blind' [broadcast 7 March 2019, 8pm]. Together, they explored Turkey's Istanbul Grand Bazaar, remote Black Sea-bordering mountains, traditional summer oil-wrestling festivities, traditional alpine cattle and bee farming methods and Cappadocia rock formations, with Pascoe using her sight to learn how to both guide Latif and also describe their experiences to aid Latif's mental visualisation. The show aimed to depict the realities of travelling both as a blind and sighted traveller, and what each would gain from their differing experiences and sensory perceptions.
Latif has also appeared in theatrical productions in the UK, including musical revue and serious drama. He has played music professionally in the USA and Canada in a Blues duo, playing guitar and singing.
Latif is represented by Arlington Talent Management.
Amar is well known for his charity work. He is a fund-raising public speaker, as well as taking on other fund-raising activities, one of which involved him abseiling down the side of a major public building dressed as Batman.