Travel guide giant ‘Lonely Planet’ will stop publishing monthly magazine China | Tech US News

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“Lonely Planet” will stop publishing its monthly Chinese-language travel magazine from 2023 after its last issue this December.

On November 14, “Lonely Planet” announced the shutdown via WeChat, a Chinese social network similar to Twitter.

“For the loyal readers and editors who love this brand and magazine, it’s probably hard to keep calm at this time,” the publication says, adding: “It’s as if an old friend who has been with us for many years is about to say goodbye. , and as if an era had come to an end”.

The Chinese edition of “Lonely Planet China” magazine has published 125 issues since its inception in August 2012.

Many readers of the magazine said they would miss her.

Photo of Time
A “Lonely Planet” travel book rests on a coffee table while in the background is book founder Tony Wheeler in Hong Kong on September 23, 2006. (Laurent Fievt/AFP via Getty Images)

“So sorry to hear that the magazine is being discontinued; something seems to be missing,” said Song Yao (pseudonym), a citizen of Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

“I would have thought I could rely on ‘Lonely Planet’ to come out after the epidemic,” Song told The Epoch Times on Nov. 16.

Song said “Lonely Planet” inspired her as a student to dream of traveling the world. When she was in her college dorm, she and her roommates would pool their money so they could buy copies of the magazine. Although they didn’t go anywhere at the time, he said they were happy to read about the destinations.

Others online expressed their appreciation for the magazine and their feelings about its termination.

“Since the first time I read ‘Lonely Planet’, it has become my main reading book for faraway travel. It has accompanied me through southwest China and south Asia,” said one netizen.

“‘Lonely Planet’ is more like a dream guide for me,” said another netizen.

Photo of Time
This photo taken on May 4, 2022 shows tourists visiting Luyanghu Lake Wetland Park in Yangzhou, east China’s Jiangsu Province. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Zero COVID policy

Many foreign companies are looking to reduce, change or abandon their operations in China in the face of Beijing’s strict policy against COVID-19 that has severely affected the country’s industry and economy.

“Lonely Planet” faced a similar dilemma, but vaguely stated that the end of its monthly edition in China was due to “various reasons, such as the expiration of the contract.”

According to the “Lonely Planet” announcement, its Chinese social media accounts – WeChat and Sina Weibo – will be separated from the Lonely Planet brand, but its guidebooks will continue to sell in China.

The social media accounts will be renamed “Planet Seeker”, a sub-brand of SinoMaps Press Group, which had been licensed by “Lonely Planet” to produce the Chinese version of “Lonely Planet China” magazine.

SinoMaps Press Group attributed the termination of the monthly magazine to a general decline in the paper media industry and the sluggish travel sector affected by the COVID-19, Chinese media outlet The Paper reported on November 15.

Epoch Times reached out to SinoMap Press, but there was no response by press time.

Changing times

Tony Wheeler and his wife, Maureen Wheeler, founded “Lonely Planet” in 1973 and, over time, their guides grew in popularity and their project became a publishing group that at one time had more than 500 employees on four continents.

In 2007, “Lonely Planet” was acquired by the BBC for $130 million; in 2013, the BBC sold “Lonely Planet” to NC2 Media, an American media company, for about $77 million, and the Wheelers completely divested themselves of the company’s operations.

Photo of Time
A picture taken on May 17, 2016 shows a Google Tracker man walking inside Chambord Castle and taking panoramic photos for Google Map and Google Street in Chambord, France. (Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images)

Before the advent of smartphones and new media, “Lonely Planet” sold 100 million copies of its English-language travel guides in 2010. However, with the rise of digital technologies over the past decade, the way travelers access to travel information has changed a lot. examples being the use of Google Maps and online user sites.

Although “Lonely Planet” has launched mobile apps for travel advice since 2011, results have been mixed in what has become a highly competitive digital market.

Due to a further downturn in business due to COVID-19, “Lonely Planet” has had to close some of its operations to cut costs, including its offices in Melbourne and London. It has also limited some of its publications, such as ending its offer of non-child guides.

The company said it was a “sad” and “difficult” decision to scale back its publishing operations.

Although he no longer has a role in the company, Tony Wheeler was “shocked” to learn of the cuts to “Lonely Planet” and said he was worried about the future of the travel industry.

Kane Zhang contributed to this report.

Jessica Mao

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Jessica Mao is a writer for The Epoch Times with a focus on China-related issues. He started writing for the Chinese language edition in 2009.

Lynn Xu

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