Wikitravel was the forerunner of Wikivoyage. After advertising was added to Wikitravel, the articles were copied to Wikivoyage and many editors have added new content and updates to Wikivoyage only. Wikivoyage is non-commercial, and part of the Wikimedia Foundation, along with Wikipedia and various other sites.
In 2003 a website called Wikitravel was launched, which sought to allow travellers and others to share travel information freely. In 2006 the site was bought by a company named Internet Brands (IB), a commercial for-profit organisation. Following the acquisition by IB, members from both the German and Italian language sites left, forming a separate site named Wikivoyage. That is to say, they copied the freely-licensed content from Wikitravel to the newly-formed Wikivoyage, where it was edited and altered independently.
The communities of other language sites continued at Wikitravel until late 2012, when most of the active English community (along with other language versions) also chose to leave Wikitravel, with the goal of establishing a new site. Their major concerns were excessive monetisation of the site (a plan to put links to a booking engine on every page was one example) and the poor and worsening technical support offered by the site's owners (an out-of-date software version and slow server response, for example).
In the process of creating the new site, other issues were addressed:
- merging with the existing Wikivoyage
- joining the larger community at the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF), a non-profit, charitable organisation which runs many wikis including Wikipedia.
Both those goals were accomplished. On 15 January 2013 Wikivoyage was relaunched: reunited and reinvigorated. The site is now hosted on WMF servers and we are part of a large Wikimedia community. That has a number of important effects. We get many new users from our sister wikis, many of them experienced wiki-editors and some of them experts at writing and running various improve-the-wiki scripts. We also get access to powerful multi-wiki tools such as the huge shared image repository at Wikimedia Commons and the WMF cross-wiki anti-spam infrastructure.
Despite the intervening period and some changes along the way, Wikivoyage still aspires to the same principles that were outlined in 2003: to provide a site where travellers and others can share travel information freely and openly. We welcome your contributions to our travel project, whether it's just a quick edit, or you choose to join our community. Either way, you are of course welcome and encouraged to use Wikivoyage guides when you travel, or to download and distribute Wikivoyage data under our free licence.
Following the projects' divergence, there are now many differences between Wikivoyage and Wikitravel, some examples of which are listed in the table below.
live, system-generated figures
as of 9 March 2021
|Number of articles in English||30,409||29,158|
|Number of pages in English||155,801||123,271|
|Total edits (since 2003) in English||4,185,280||2,884,529|
|Owner||Wikimedia Foundation||Internet Brands|
|Alexa global rank (22 March 2021)||43,648||32,012|
So when did all this happen?
The content, images and policies that make up the Wikivoyage site have been developed continuously since 24 July 2003, and some of the current contributors to Wikivoyage have been developing this content since those early days. The website wikivoyage.org was first created in 2006 when the domain was registered and the German and Italian Wikivoyage sites launched with copies of the existing content. English Wikivoyage was created on 30 August 2012 when a copy of the existing content was moved to the new domain and made editable, and on 15 January 2013 Wikivoyage was officially launched as a Wikimedia project.
Do Wikivoyage and Wikitravel work cooperatively?
Not currently. Internet Brands took legal action (dismissed before trial) against two Wikivoyage volunteers, and removes any links to or mention of Wikivoyage from any discussion pages on their Wikitravel site. The Wikimedia Foundation also took legal action against Internet Brands, resulting in a settlement in which the rights to establish this travel site were confirmed.
Can I copy content between Wikivoyage and Wikitravel?
While content can be legally copied from Wikitravel to Wikivoyage if attribution is provided in accordance with the CC-BY-SA license, such copying is generally discouraged due to the history of litigation between the two sites and due to the fact that having the same content on both sites can penalize Wikivoyage in search rankings (see search engine optimization for more information). Instead of copying text, consider contributing original content written in your own words.
Legally, content from Wikitravel can be used on Wikivoyage as long as the conditions of relevant copyright licenses are complied with. Internet Brands has confirmed that the content of Wikitravel is under a CC BY-SA license. However, as Internet Brands and the WMF have engaged in litigation, please discuss before moving content from Wikitravel to Wikivoyage. If you do move anything, be very careful to comply fully with the license terms regarding attribution.
Moving content from Wikivoyage to Wikitravel is not currently possible as any mention of Wikivoyage is banned on that site, precluding correct attribution.
Can I read more?
There are several blogs and news stories that covered the events surrounding Wikivoyage's move to the Wikimedia Foundation, where you can read more if you are interested.
- Wikitravel editors abandon Internet Brands, join up with Wikipedia, Gyrovague, 12 July 2012
- Wikimedia Foundation seeks declaratory relief in response to legal threats from Internet Brands, Diff from the Wikimedia Foundation, 5 September 2012
- Internet Brands sues people for forking under CC by-sa, David Gerard, 6 September 2012
- Travel Site Built on Wiki Ethos Now Bedevils Its Owner, The New York Times, 9 September 2012
- Lessons From The Dramatic Slow-Motion Death Of Wikitravel, TechCrunch, 29 September 2012
- Free travel guide Wikivoyage comes out of beta and is already kicking ass, Gyrovague, 14 January 2012
- A victory for Wikivoyage and free knowledge, Diff from the Wikimedia Foundation, 15 February 2013
- The Signpost coverage:
- WikiTravel debate, 16 April 2012
- Request for comment on Wikitravel, 23 April 2012
- Commercialisation fears unaddressed in Wikitravel proposal, 9 July 2012
- Tough journey for new travel guide, 27 August 2012
- Two Wikipedians may face jury trial, 10 September 2012
- Editor files motion to strike Internet Brands' lawsuit, 1 October 2012
- Möller sets out Wikivoyage migration plan, 22 October 2012
- Wikivoyage's journey ends in safe haven, somewhat, 12 November 2012
- Investigative report: Ship ahoy! New travel site finally afloat, 14 January 2013
- Wikimedia Foundation declares "victory" in Wikivoyage lawsuit, 18 February 2012