The controversial Lonely Planet magazine from BBC Worldwide hits newsstands on Friday – a week later than originally planned.
The new mag had come under fire from the editor of rival travel monthly Wanderlust Lyn Hughes – who claimed the original launch date was deliberately timed to steal the thunder of her title’s 100th issue. She has also accused BBC Worldwide of creating unfair competition by targeting her advertisers and undercutting Wanderlust.
BBC Worldwide – part of the corporation’s commercial arm – bought a 75 per cent stake in travel publisher Lonely Planet for £89.9m last year and announced plans to launch the monthly via BBC Magazines, which also publishes titles such as Dr Who and Top Gear.
The latest launch has angered some of the BBC’s commercial rivals, who claimed Worldwide was entering into territories that are not linked to the BBC’s core public service remit.
Lonely Planet is priced £3.50 and has an initial print run of 90,000.
The magazine is edited by Peter Grunert, and claims to target “open-minded, inquisitive people with a real sense of adventure, who want to learn about, and connect with, the people and places they visit”.
The title pitches itself as ‘more than a travel magazine’and will also cover culture, history and food in destinations around the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.
A spokeswoman said that as with many BBC Worldwide titles: ‘Much of the content links back to BBC programmes and websites”.
The first issue includes pieces by BBC big names including: Sandrine Voillet, Stephen Fry and Imogen Foulkes.
The BBC has said that the clash of the launch date with Wanderlust’s anniversary was a coincidence.