Wikipedia’s next target is the travel industry.
The Skift travel blog has revealed that the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that supports Wikipedia, took its crowdsourced travel guide WikiVoyage out of beta last week. The move has been some time coming; in July 2012, the Wikimedia Foundation decided to host and support the nonprofit WikiVoyage, breaking its relatively long tradition of loyalty to the for-profit Wikitravel.How can we be sure that WikiVoyage, with only 26,567 English articles to Wikitravel’s 83,077, will be any more successful than its rival? Jani Patokallio, who works for Lonely Planet and is the former managing editor of Wikitravel Press, which makes travel guides based on Wikitravel, has criticized Wikitravel for only focusing on ad revenue. But lack of profit motive doesn’t mean WikiVoyage will do any better. Patokallio points out that a “lack of vision and desire” as well as a “lack of funding” might keep WikiVoyage from ever dominating any for-profit travel websites.Since Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Frommer’s have all survived despite Wikitravel’s existence, it’s unlikely these guides will reach their demise because of WikiVoyage’s launch. As Rachelle Dragani of TechNewsWorld notes: “While the idea of crowdsourced information for common knowledge was a pretty novel idea when Wikipedia launched, the travel industry already has years of online reviews, sample itineraries and personal testimonies about tons of destinations.”