After 244 years, the Encyclopedia Britannica published its last print edition in May, marking the end of the venerable 32-volume set. The probable culprit for its demise was, of course, Wikipedia, which bills itself as "the free encyclopedia that anyone can edit."
Now 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.
What planning a trip to Rome on WikiVoyage looks like.
How can we be sure that WikiVoyage will be any more successful than Wikitravel, its older 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."
Correction: This article earlier stated that WikiVoyage only had 26,567 English articles to Wikitravel's 83,077. Jani Patokallio later wrote in to point out that that was a vagary of statistical calculation; Wikitravel includes pages that do not have content (i.e. talk pages, redirects) in its count of English-language articles, while WikiVoyage does not. WikiVoyage's count of pages with content is 26,567; Wikitravel's is 25,989.
Visitors will like coming here for Lassen Volcanic National Park and Mt. Shasta. They'll also like coming here because the sun shines 88% of the time
The teutonic colonial port city of Namibia sits on the Skeleton Coast and under a sky that drops less than an inch of rain a year
. Though the city is not exactly convenient for most travelers, it has become something of a destinations among thrill seekers who take to the updrafts on microlights, ride the dunes on snowboards and swim in the surprisingly chilly south Atlantic.
Alice Springs, Australia
Outback culture is on display here as the key pillars of this community, which sits in the shadow of Uluru, are beer and barbecue, both of which are well-suited to a climate offering just short of 10 hours of sunshine a day
. The casinos here are popular with rough-edged locals but the town also boasts access to a number of great eco resorts like Longitude 131
, where visitors can bask in the desert warmth.
One of the sunniest islands in the world
is located near the patch of the ocean that absorbs more rays than any other piece of water on Earth. Visitors here can simply lie on the white sand beaches, sure, but there is also excellent fishing and numerous WWII ruins worth exploring.
According to climate scientists
, the desert outside of Agadez is one of the most solar-soaked places on Earth. Unfortunately this corner of Niger, while beautiful, is also incredibly dangerous. An ongoing Tuareg revolution has made this something of a war zone. That said, the warriors are very tan.
This Islamic island off Dar Es Salaam has long been popular with Italian tourists, who come to get extremely tan in extraordinarily small bathing suits. The small city of Stone Town is a marvel of ancient architecture and boasts a peerless seafood market. The sun out 63 percent of the time
, a remarkable amount for the tropics, which is why the locals are so darn happy all the time. Europeans fly here directly, but safari-goers in the know make the hop from Mount Kilimanjaro and Masai Mara.
Madagascar is a pristinely beautiful island off the coast of Africa. Tourism is the big draw here but so is the sunshine, of which there are 3,597 hours on average a year