The non-profit parent organization of Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, officially launched its twelfth official project: Wikivoyage, which was already in beta for a while, is a free online travel guide that, just like Wikipedia, is edited collaboratively.
It currently features about 50,000 articles and has attracted a core group of about 200 volunteer editors. The site is available in English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish.
Wikivoyage goes back to 2006 when the original Wikitravel site was sold to Internet Brands and a number of users and editors left the site because the new owners introduced advertising on the service. However, the material on Wikitravel remained under a Creative Commons license and after a lot of back and forth, a number of Wikitravel editors decided to fork the project in 2012 and merge it with Wikivoyage. Because of this, you will currently find a lot of identical material on both Wikitravel and Wikivoyage.
The content from Wikitravel was eventually moved over to Wikivoyage last November and was in beta until today.
Given that a lot of travel information on the web is badly written, outdated and flat out wrong, there is definitely a place for Wikivoyage on the web. The site’s coverage is still a bit uneven, however, you can often find information on Wikivoyage that isn’t available in commercial travel guides.
The reason guidebook publishers may be worried about the website is that users have access to a free “Book Creator” option that lets them select pages to add to their personal guidebook, which can then be downloaded to print or saved to a e-reading device.
For example, if you’re heading to Jordan and visiting only Aqaba, Dead Sea and Petra, you can select pages highlighting these destinations, rather than buying a whole book on the country. Apart from the specific information like accommodations, sights to see, getting there & around and more, the fact that a lot of data is submitted by actual travelers may help you stay away from guide books. You can download it as a PDF, Open Document, OpenZim or EPUB file and send it to whatever device you want to access it from.
Narrowing down your options on accommodation and other information depends on the number of days you have at each destination, and you may have to rely on TripAdvisor for user reviews on everything and other websites for bookings. But Wikivoyage aims to be that one-stop source on all-you-can-do at the destinations of your travel.