This fall, travel guide publisher Lonely Planet will become the latest entrant in the travel magazine space with the U.S. launch of Lonely Planet Magazine. Edited by Lauren Finney, who was most recently senior editor at Niche Media, the new quarterly title will have a cover price of $5.99 and a circulation rate base guarantee of 450,000 when it hits newsstands Sept. 2.
Lonely Planet first got into the print magazine business in 2008, when it launched the U.K. edition of Lonely Planet Magazine. Since then, the company has added nine international editions in France, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, India, Korea, China and Taiwan.
"We have a successful magazine business now, but as a company, we're a U.S. business, and we're really interested in that market," said Piers Pickard, the company's managing director of publishing. "At Lonely Planet, we have an unrivaled global network of writers, photographers and people that are traveling all the time, so while other magazines are relying on freelance contributors and journalists, we already have that network out there."
The travel magazine category has been going through a bit of a renaissance of late, with established brands like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure seeing significant audience growth—27 percent and 17 percent, respectively, in the first quarter of 2015, per the MPA—and newer titles like Afar quickly gaining in popularity.
According to Pickard, the rapidly growing popularity of international travel among Americans—nearly 40 percent of whom held active passports in 2014 versus just 10 percent two decades ago—is creating an ideal environment for travel magazines.
"With the way the world is globalizing, the confidence that people have to travel and the way that low-cost airlines are changing things, travel is getting easier and easier all the time, and people's curiosity and knowledge about the world is increasing all the time," Pickard said said. At the same time, he added, "People are constantly overwhelmed with travel advice and ideas, especially online, and a magazine is a really great way of curating beautiful, inspirational, topical ideas for people."
The new magazine will be divided into five different sections including Globetrotter, which focuses on travel news; Postcards, featuring travel photography; Easy Trips, offering recommendations for short getaways; Great Escape, focusing on longer trips; and Mini Guides, which includes destination-specific pull-out guides.