Wikipedia Sets a Date for its Maiden Wikivoyage

By Devon Glenn 

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that’s crowdsourced from dedicated writers all over the world, is venturing into the travel business. Skift has learned that Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales is planning to launch Wikivoyage, a wiki just for travel information, on January 15.

The new site will cover information such as lodging, transportation, food, culture, and nightlife for travel destinations around the world. It’s aimed at both travelers and writers of travel guides who are researching their trips, according to the website’s list of goals and non-goals for the service.

Wikivoyage will not include things like travel essays or historical and political information about the destinations that could be better explained on Wikipedia.

Wales appeared on the “Colbert Report” to talk about the site, which has been in development since September 2012. The comedian had his own ideas for jazzing up the site, like travel reviews — “I love the atmosphere. Try the wine!” — and sponsorship opportunities, such a tasteful Entenmann’s ad under Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” entry.

But Wales reminded him that the Wikimedia Foundation, which supports both Wikipedia and Wikivoyage, is non-profit charitable organization that runs on donations and volunteers, not advertising dollars.

Wikivoyage will face competition from Internet Brands, the parent company of a for-profit site called Wikitravel. Wikimedia Foundation is currently embroiled in a legal battle with with company over the use of content published on Wikitravel under a Creative Commons license.

Image by Kostyantyn Ivanyshen.