When Aditya Gupta, a Gurugram-primarily based IT expert, left for Istanbul the remaining week on an enterprise-cum-holiday ride, the various necessities he installed in his bag were the latest replica of the Lonely Planet travel manual. It becomes the 12th tour guidebook he had sold within the ultimate four years, and they all, now dog-eared with yellow notes popping out of them, are stacked on a bookshelf at his residence. “These guidebooks are a file of my trips, my ultimate advisors,” says Gupta. “I by no means felt lost in an unfamiliar location, whether or not I changed into Peru or Prague.”
In reality, there are many like Gupta who still flips to tour guidebooks — Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides — to plan trips of their lifetime. No wonder then the published tour guidebook, whose obituary becomes written a few years in the past, is alive and maintains to thrive, overcoming the growing challenge from a bunch of virtual systems consisting of TripAdvisor, Expedia, Google Trips, and Instagram, which, with its eighty million photo uploads every day, threatens to take the mystique out of the tour.
“There has been a double-digit rise in sales; in reality, 80% of our revenue comes from our print business. Unlike many online travel platforms, what our travel courses provide is curated, confirmed and realistic information masking all factors of travel,” says Sesh Seshadri, Director, Lonely Planet India.
René Frey, CEO of London-primarily based APA Publications, which publishes Rough Guides and Insight Guides, too testified to the iconic popularity of travel guidebooks. “The rise of online systems such as TripAdvisor created a wave and many humans idea the guidebook is lifeless. It isn’t,” he says. “30-forty% of all critiques online are opportunity data. The feature of the bodily journey manual is to present the consumer with dependable, honest, and curated statistics on how to devise an experience. Simply speaking, consumers buy our Rough Guides or Insight Guides due to the fact they feel any individual they could consider has carried out the basis for them.”
The records of the present-day travel guidebook date to the early 19th century when courses through publishers and writers including John Murray-III, Karl Baedeker, and Mariana Starke became pretty popular amongst travelers — the newly rich on their grand tours of Europe. Eugene Fodor, Arthur Frommer, and Tony Wheeler ruled the travel guidebook marketplace inside the twentieth century, and their publications continue to be famous. In truth, many of the early variations via Murray and Baedeker have ended up as famous collectibles.
The Lonely Planet brought out its first India guide inside the Eighties. Within the phrases of its founder Tony Wheeler at the Lonely Planet India website, it was a turning point in the organization’s records: “Our first India guide in 1981 turned into a big step forward, a bigger and extra audacious name than anything we’d carried out previously and an e-book which turned into each an essential and business achievement. That one identifies changed Lonely Planet from a small suffering organization to a much extra firmly based operation.” In 2015, the company launched Lonely Planet Kids, a richly illustrated book geared toward young travelers.
Today, despite the increasing challenge from the net, most guidebook publishers are scaling up their operations, including new titles every 12 months. DK Travel re-launched its Eyewitness Travel Guides collection with a new layout, pix, and trademark illustrations in 2018 to mark its 25th anniversary. “There has been a steady demand for compact journey publications that focus on the pinnacle ten highlights of a selected destination. Indian locations, along with Bengaluru and Goa, have finished thoroughly for us. Delhi also has been a constant seller,” says Aparna Sharma, dealing with director DK India. “People are starting to distrust digital, especially in this age of fake news. There has been a resurgence of all things bodily—the renewed popularity of vinyl statistics, the boom in print ebook income as a whole”.
Every journey guidebook has its region of specialization. While Lonely Planet is thought for comprehensive, no-nonsense statistics, listings, and on-ground tour hints, Rough Guides are recognized for in-depth sightseeing information. The Blue Guides, which commenced publishing in 1918, are well-known for offering a scholarly history of places you are traveling. Most guidebooks are updated every two years.
“Every replaces sort of a new version, but the writing style, the tone, and voice, a unique part of our courses, continue to be equal. We have 250 authors around the arena who go to revisit, discover new places and provide updated and insightful knowledge,” says Seshadri.
Many expert journey writers, which include Archana Singh, who travels solo and runs a popular weblog ‘Travel, See, Write,’ says she stores a maximum of her travel records — the boarding skip, journey itinerary, offline and on-line navigation apps, lodge reserving — on her cellular cellphone, however, prefer to carry a bodily journey guidebook whilst she visits an offbeat or more moderen location. “At instances, while constant internet gets admission to is a problem, journey guidebooks come very availably.
Plus, the benefit and simplicity of page-turning revel in associated with guidebooks can’t be compared with digital guidebooks where navigation could be a pain at times.” But then others experience endless guidelines at your fingertips and a map of the entire planet for your mobile; there’s no factor in wearing a bulky journey book that is going obsolete in a couple of years. “Recently, I became in the Philippines and went seeking out a cafe indexed in a journey manual, but I located it become closed,” says Regev Aloni, 24, who hails from Israel and is in Delhi. “I am a fantastic fan of Google Trips.”
But his pal from Turkey, Humeyra Gundogan, who’s additionally on a journey to Delhi, says she loves to journey without any manual books, either digital or print. “I simply love to hit the streets once I am in a new town, talking to locals, asking them wherein I can go; I assume that is the excellent way to discover a new place.”
Ajay Jain, a travel writer and founder of the Kunzum Travel Café in Delhi, feels tour publications need to reinvent themselves to stay relevant. “Instead of trying to p.C. Too much statistics approximately the activities, they must discover a better manner of combing records and storytelling,” says Jain, who has written several books, including ‘Kunzum Delhi one hundred and one.’ In reality, a few tour author-publishers have taken the idea of a great tour manual past curated content material, also focusing on the look and feel of the books.
Take, for example, Fiona Caulfield, the founding father of Love Travel India, a company that brings out some hands made tour guides — Love Delhi Guide, Love Mumbai Guide, Love Goa Guide, amongst others — whose emblem fairness, in line with Caulfield, is a aggregate of ‘authenticity, intimacy, and sensuality,’ the final regarding their layout. “They are published on delicately textured hand-crafted paper; they boast khadi cotton covers, and all the books are hand-sure,” says Caulfield, who hails from Australia and is based totally in Bengaluru. “Our publications are aimed toward time-poor luxury vagabonds.”
Aditya Gupta says an awesome tour manual is also a chronicle of tradition, food, and manner of existence at a specific place at some stage in a particular length in history. “Maybe someday, I will choose out a travel guide from my shelf and cross lower back to those old haunts to look what became of them.