Lonely Planet plans to shutter its London and Melbourne offices

Lonely Planet plans to shutter its London and Melbourne offices

Travel publisher Lonely Planet is to drastically reduce its publishing and close "almost entirely" its London and Melbourne offices as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

Under proposals outlined by the company, it will also shutter the line of what it calls inspirational titles, i.e. non-guidebooks which includes children's books, and will no longer publish the Lonely Planet magazine.

A statement issued by the company said: "Due to the impact of Covid-19 on demand and sales, Lonely Planet has made the difficult decision to reduce its publishing operations for the foreseeable future. Lonely Planet will continue to publish guidebooks and phrasebooks."

The company added that it was "currently proposing that its operations in London and Melbourne close almost entirely, with impacts in other Lonely Planet locations around the world".

It did not provide further details when requested. The last UK accounts filed for the business operating out of London noted sales of £12m, and there is thought to be 70 people in the London office. This does not include its locations around the world, including the US and Ireland. The business is currently owned by video business NC2 Media, having been sold by the BBC in 2013, and has been run since February 2019 by Luis Cabrera.

The statement added: "This is obviously a very sad and difficult time for the Lonely Planet family."

Founded in Australia in 1973, Tony Wheeler, who founded Lonely Planet with his wife Maureen told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age that he was "shocked" when he heard the news. "Am I sad? Of course, I’m sad about a lot of things. Who knows what's going to happen to the travel industry." However, he added with demand for books still strong: "It seems to be a little bit jumping the gun." The Sydney Morning Herald said that about 80 staff were affected in Melbourne.