Lonely Planet is teaming up with a publisher in China to tap the growing market there for guidebooks in simplified Chinese characters, the first books—Australia, Germany and Britain.
Lonely Planet and SDX Joint Publishing Company have announced a new publishing partnership.
Judy Slatyer (Chief Executive Officer, Lonely Planet) and Mr Zhang Weimin (President, SDX) made a formal announcement at a joint function held at the Australian Embassy in Beijing on Monday, 9 January, 2006.
‘At Lonely Planet, we believe that travel is one of the world’s most important activities’, says Ms Slatyer.
‘As an organization, our vision is simple: to inspire and enable travellers to connect with the world’.
‘SDX believes that travel will become an indispensable activity for Chinese people. More and more people are travelling and looking to understand and connect with the world’, adds Mr Zhang.
‘For over 30 years, the Lonely Planet books have helped travellers make the most of their travel experience. Lonely Planet is not just about seeing a destination, but helping travellers understand the historical and cultural context. Lonely Planet enables travellers to connect with local people as well as other travellers and in this way helps create a global travel community. I believe the time is right for Chinese travellers to have access to this type of information as they begin to seek out a more genuine travel experience’.
Slatyer affirms, ‘Independent travel is at the heart of Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet is for all travellers who want to explore the world in their own time and to pursue their own interests. The most memorable travel experiences are not mapped out. Our new Chinese-language guidebooks will help Chinese travellers to shape their own unique travel experience’.
The first set of Lonely Planet guidebooks translated into simplified Chinese script will be launched in June 2006.
Launch titles will include guidebooks to key outbound destinations such as Australia, Germany and Britain.
Both companies are committed to growing the list aggressively and publishing a diverse range of titles to both emerging and established destinations for Chinese travellers across Asia, Europe and the Americas. The program will initially focus on Lonely Planet’s core guidebook range but will feature titles from Lonely Planet’s burgeoning trade list as well. The new Chinese guidebooks will be available in Xinhua and private bookstores in major cities throughout mainland China.
Lonely Planet and SDX have entered a long-term partnership that will develop over time to offer a range of travel products and services for Chinese travellers across a variety of media platforms.
Slatyer says, ‘Working with SDX, our goal is to position Lonely Planet as the leading travel brand in China for independent, authoritative and accurate travel information’.
Slatyer continues, ‘Not surprisingly we took a long time to find our Chinese partner. For Lonely Planet, it was most important that we find a publisher who shared our love of travel, our curiosity, our sense of humour and our desire to help Chinese travellers explore the world with quality, trustworthy, frank and insightful travel advice. We have found that in SDX’.
Based in Beijing, the SDX publishing and marketing teams will work closely with Lonely Planet’s headoffice in Melbourne to ensure these new guidebooks are appropriately adapted for Chinese travellers while remaining true to the pioneering travel spirit and publishing values that have underpinned Lonely Planet’s international reputation for over thirty years.
The World Tourism Organization (WTO) estimates that there will be 100 million Chinese outbound travellers by 2020, which represents an annual growth rate around 12% (three times the annual world average for tourism growth). If these estimates are realized, this would make China the world’s fourth largest source market for outbound travellers.
Slatyer concludes, ‘China as a nation is growing at a rapid rate. Its citizens are increasingly engaged with the world as their economy develops and their society changes. As more and more Chinese travel, they will emerge as new global citizens at the same time as their nation takes on an increasingly important role in the world. We are looking forward to playing at least a small part in those changes in one of the world’s most exciting nations’.