Travel guide giant “Lonely Planet” to stop publishing monthly China Magazine

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

On November 14, “Lonely Planet” announced the shutdown via WeChat, a Chinese Twitter-like social media.

“For loyal readers and editors who love this brand and this magazine, it’s probably hard to keep calm right now,” the post read, adding, “It feels like an old friend who has been with us for many years was about to come apart. , and as if an era had passed.

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

Many magazine readers said they would miss it.

A ‘Lonely Planet’ travel diary rests on a coffee table while in the background is the book’s founder, Tony Wheeler, in Hong Kong on September 23, 2006. (Laurent Fievt/AFP via Getty Images)

“So sad to hear that the magazine is discontinued; it looks like something is missing,” said Song Yao (a pseudonym), a citizen of Shenyang, Liaoning Province.

“I had thought that I could rely on ‘Lonely Planet’ to come out after the outbreak was over,” Song told The Epoch Times on Nov. 16.

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

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

“From the first time I read ‘Lonely Planet’, it became my staple reading book for distant travels. It accompanied me through southwest China and South Asia “said a user.

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

Epoch Times Photo
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 seeking to downsize, move or abandon their operations in China in the face of Beijing’s strict Zero-COVID policy which has severely affected the country’s industry and economy.

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

According to Lonely Planet’s announcement, its Chinese social media platform accounts – WeChat and Sina Weibo – will be separated from the Lonely Planet brand, but its guides will continue to be sold in China.

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

News group SinoMaps attributed the monthly magazine’s shutdown to a general downturn in the print media industry and a slowdown in the travel sector affected by COVID-19, Chinese media The Paper reported on Nov. 15.

The Epoch Times contacted SinoMap Press, but there was no response by press time.

Change times

Tony Wheeler and his wife, Maureen Wheeler, founded “Lonely Planet” in 1973, and over time his guides grew in popularity, and their project grew into a publishing group that at one point 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 approximately $77 million, with the Wheelers divesting the company’s operations completely.

Epoch Times Photo
A photo 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 from which travelers access travel information has changed significantly, the use of Google Maps and online user sites being examples.

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 drop in business due to COVID-19, “Lonely Planet” had to close some of its operations in an effort to cut costs, including its Melbourne and London offices. He also limited some of his publications, such as the end of his line of non-guides for children.

The company said it was a “sad” and “difficult” decision to cut its publishing business.

Despite no longer holding a position with the company, Tony Wheeler was ‘shocked’ to learn of the ‘Lonely Planet’ cuts and expressed concern about the future of the travel industry .

Kane Zhang contributed to this report.

jessica mao


Jessica Mao is a staff writer for The Epoch Times and focuses on China-related topics. She started writing for the Chinese language edition in 2009.

Lynn Xu