With monthly magazines, a lot of time elapses between finishing an issue, sending it to print, and shipping it to newsstands and subscribers. That's normally fine, so long as the magazine doesn't write about anything time-sensitive. But, at least for Condé Nast Traveler, it seems the system buckles just a bit when revolutions break out in the Middle East.
In its April issue, for example, Condé Nast Traveler named Libya one of the "15 best places to see right now," reasoning that the "recent lifting of visa restrictions against Americans means that a door long shut is open again." The door was open on February 15 when the magazine went to press and peaceful protests stirred in Libya, WWD Media explains today, but it shut only days later when the uprising turned violent, as the magazine explains in an editor's note. If you're interested, Condé Nast Traveler recommended checking out Libya's Roman ruins (see tourists above) and surveying the Sahara by "four-by-four or camel."
This isn't the first time, though, that the magazine has been burned by an uprising in the Arab world. In late January, as Egypt's revolution began, Condé Nast Traveler's February issue hit newsstands with the cover headline, "Egypt: Secret Pleasures of the Nile." "It all seemed like spectacularly bad timing," recalled editor-in-chief Klara Glowczewska in the magazine's April issue. But Glowczewska also includes an update from Susan Hack, the writer of the ill-timed piece, recommending people travel to Cairo:
The city is so vast that there are always pockets of normality. And it's miraculous that Cairo is functioning while the government is in limbo ... Hotels are reporting cancellations through the end of April, so when the museums and antiquities sites reopen, they will undoubtedly be uncrowded, and hotels (at less than 12 percent occupancy now) will likely be offering deep discounts. Egypt relies on tourism as its second-biggest foreign currency source, so to travel here is to support the new democracy. And what an opportunity--to witness history being made in this most historic of countries.
It seems, as Condé Nast Traveler's Bob Payne observed presciently in his April piece on Libya as a hot spot, "in travel, it's all in the timing. At any moment, there are places undergoing such profound changes that they are fundamentally different from what they were last year, or what they will be next."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.