Lonely Planet says online still key as digital jobs go

Travel guide giant Lonely Planet has pledged its support to web publishing division despite sweeping redundancies across its online and IT departments.

The Melbourne-based company told Travolution that although discussions are still ongoing it is expected around 50 positions would be axed (including six in the UK) as a result of a falling guidebook sales and a decline in online advertising.

The majority of the losses will be in online content production and back office technology, UK travel editor Tom Hall said.

It is believed a number of the positions will be contractors who helped worked on the recently relaunched site.

The company has spent much of the past few years attempting to grow its online business and move away from relying on revenues gained predominantly from its book publishing arm.

The popular Thorn Tree forum was one of the earliest initiatives launched by the company alongside regular online advertising positions for third parties.

The site later later meta search tools for flights, currently run by Kayak in the US and Europe and Wego in Asia.

Hall said Lonely Planet was now conducting a “reprioritisation exercise” but stressed that online would still be a focus for the company.

“We remain very ambitious with our digital plans at Lonely Planet,” he added.

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