Finance Work Lonely Planet, Foxtel workers the latest to suffer coronavirus cutbacks

Lonely Planet, Foxtel workers the latest to suffer coronavirus cutbacks

lonely planet guidebook author
Lonely Planet is curtailing operations in Melbourne and London amid the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: AAP
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Travel publisher Lonely Planet will close most of its operations in Melbourne and London as the company deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

The company said it had made the “difficult decision to reduce its publishing operations for the foreseeable future”.

Lonely Planet said it would continue to publish guidebooks and phrasebooks.

But it will commission no new “inspirational” titles and will stop publishing its magazine.

“Lonely Planet is currently proposing that its operations in London and Melbourne close almost entirely, with impacts in other Lonely Planet locations around the world,” the company’s communications manager Adam Bennett told the ABC.

Lonely Planet was founded in 1973 when Australian couple Tony and Maureen Wheeler published their first guidebook, Across Asia on the Cheap.

The company became a favourite of many travellers, with its guidebooks pored over in hostels and bars around the world.

But Lonely Planet has had its share of challenges in more recent times.

Its ownership has changed hands twice, with the BBC’s commercial arm buying a majority stake in 2007.

BBC Worldwide later sold the company to NC2 Media – a company based in Nashville, in the US.

Elsewhere, 200 Foxtel workers have been laid off and 140 more stood down until the end of June.

In an email to staff, Foxtel chief executive Patrick Delany called the  week the “toughest in Foxtel’s history” and said serious changes were needed to keep the business strong for the future.

“With the impact of COVID-19, the only option is to act now to ensure we ride out the current situation and remain strong to compete with local and global media companies,” he said.

Many of the redundancies are in the Fox Sports and Kayo businesses, which are struggling with most global sport shut down.

-with agencies