Want to visit the Jahangirabad Palace in Lucknow? Or peep into the small havelis in Baradari and Malihabad in Lucknow, chosen by director Muzaffar Ali to shoot the movie Umrao Jaan ? Keen to tap into the 8,00,000 domestic trips taken every year, Lonely Planet has decided to piggyback on Bollywood.

Its new title ‘Filmi Escapes - Travel with the Movies’, is touted as the first travel guide to be inspired by Indian cinema, and includes anecdotes and facts shared by actors along with travel listings.

For a company that publishes over 120 titles annually, the staggering statistics about Indian travellers has given it a new direction.

“Indian travellers are set to become the most outbound travellers in the world by 2020. We have decided to invest in the future in line with our 40-year-old heritage,” Daniel Houghton, Chief Operating Officer at Lonely Planet, told Business Line .

The company decided to weave cinema with tourism, since “storyline, acting and good location are the three most important steps to a good movie. We toured across the country for over six months and realised that India is proud to celebrate 100 years of cinema,” said Houghton.

“We found that the destination of cinema has become an important aspect in tourism here. Our research showed that most Indian travellers don't have to ask their cab driver to show them the touristy spots. Most are taken to a specific spot without asking. It is something we identified in the Indian culture,” he said.

Lonely Planet decided to bring out “both the old and the new aspects of Indian cinema, one that would appeal to all, with the new title”.

Since the content is all about domestic travel spots, it is not meant for overseas travellers, “who may not be able to relate to the issue as much as an Indian traveller. We expect more Bollywood buffs and domestic travellers to be eager to get their hands on the book,” said Sesh Seshadri, General Manager, Lonely Planet India.

Seshadri added that the company has been selling books for the last 30 years.

“What changed for us was that we wanted to create content specifically for Indian travellers. Our first 10 books were launched in September 2012. On the back of that success, we have released another 24 titles in India,” he added.

>amritanair.ghaswalla@thehindu.co.in

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