Lonely Planet, the travel magazine from Worldwide Media (a Times Group and BBC Worldwide joint venture), was launched in the country on January 29, 2010. The monthly magazine is priced at Rs 100 and is aimed at the affluent, urban couples in the age group of 30–50 years, who are keen travellers. Vardhan Kondvikar is the magazine’s Editor.
In a prepared statement, Tarun Rai, CEO, Worldwide Media, commented, “The Lonely Planet magazine is going to set a new benchmark for travel magazines in India. With over 35 years’ experience in travel and access to 365 travel writers across the world, no other magazine can offer the kind of advice that Lonely Planet magazine can. In its pages you will find new destinations to travel to, as well as new things to do in familiar destinations. Lonely Planet magazine is a small investment for a better holiday.”
To differentiate the magazine from other travel magazines in the market, Editor Vardhan Kondvikar has quite a few plans. When asked how he would shape the magazine editorially, Kondvikar replied, “Lonely Planet India has two major themes running through it. First, putting entertainment and information right next to each other and specifically placing information where you need it. Second, is strong, clear and easy-to-navigate sections (Postcards, 5 Easy Trips, Features, Insider, Mini Guides), and we aim to build on that. Our plan is to make this the most inspiring as well as the most useful travel magazine India has ever seen. We want to make our readers experience the world through the magazine and then help them plan to go see it.”
On the magazine’s digital presence, Kondvikar said, “At the moment, we don't have an online magazine, but we do have the global site, www.lonelyplanet.com, which lets you book flights and hotels. Whatever you read about, you can book online. Best part is it is run by an Indian, so he knows what Indians are looking for.”
Lonely Planet India offers readers everything it takes to travel interestingly. It is a mix of travel destinations, both international and Indian. The vivid writing and stunning colour spreads by seasoned international and Indian traveler-writers and photographers aim to inspire and enable travelers in India to connect with the world, sample different cultures first-hand, and discover the people, the history and the land.
Lonely Planet was founded in 1972 by Tony and Maureen Wheeler. At present, it publishes 500 titles and sells over 6.5 million books every year.
There are already quite a few magazines for travelers in the Indian market – Budget Travel, Discover India Magazine, Gourmet Travel, Outlook Traveler, Travel Plus, Wanderlust, etc. Clearly, the launch of Lonely Planet in this segment will increase competition for the already existing publications.
Apart from Lonely Planet magazine, other magazines from WWM’s stable include, Filmfare, Femina English and Hindi, Top Gear India, Hello, BBC Good Homes, Grazia, What to Wear, etc.