Monday, November 12, 2007

Lonely Continent

If you've ever looked in the travel section at your local library or bookstore, you are probably familiar with Lonely Planet series of guidebooks. Unlike some travel guides that only focus on the most popular travel destinations, Lonely Planet tries to provide guidance to all travelers, perhaps to a fault. I remember flipping through their write-up of Kinshasa a while back, which offered many useful pieces of advice, such as how much to bribe the various characters you were likely to encounter on your way from the airport to the hotel and the hours of day during which it may be safe to leave the hotel. In spite of this, I was still somewhat shocked to find a copy of the Lonely Planet's guide to Antarctica when I was at the bookstore last week. According to this this article, Antarctic tourism is exploding, with an estimated 28,000 visitors in 2006. That's a lot more that I had figured, but unless a fairly large percentage of those visitors are buying a copy of the Lonely Planet's guide to Antarctica, I doubt it's a moneymaker. If nothing else, it cements their reputation as the go-to source for travel information for obscure destinations (at least, for Western, English-speaking travelers). I'm kind of surprised they haven't enlisted one of the Apollo astronauts to write a Lonely Planet guidebook for the Moon.

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