Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lonely Planet tells staff to pack their bags
Chris Zappone writing in The Age, February 25, 2009

Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet has cut up to 50 positions as the demand for guidebooks shrivels in the face of global financial crisis.

The cuts will affect staff in Australia, the US and Britain where most of the company's sales and offices are. Before the cuts the company said it had 500 people on its payroll.
The retrenchments are "directly related to the economic downturn because we're a global company", spokesman Adam Bennett said.
"It represents the decline of the guidebook market in tough times."

Mr Bennett said the US and Britain, both of which are struggling with recession, represented a combined total of 60% of guidebook sales.
Lonely Planet, which is 75%-owned by the BBC's commercial enterprise BBC Worldwide, said it was consulting with employees, some of whom were not having their contracts renewed, while others were having their positions eliminated.

Acting chief executive Stephen Palmer said in a statement that the global market for travel was not expected to pick up soon.
"Even the most optimistic forecasts do not predict any sustained recovery until 2010 at the earliest, and even then it is likely to be slow and patchy,'' Mr Palmer said.
"The US, UK and Europe are all in recession, and these territories account for over 80% of our business."
Mr Palmer cited a UN World Travel Organisation forecast for total outbound travel to dip 2% this year. But he predicted Lonely Planet's core markets would erode further with a 10% fall in the US, 5% in Britain and 2% in Australia.
"It has become clear that this economic situation is unprecedented. It will not just be a blip and we need to adjust our costs so we can manage through these tough times.''

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