- Hint: This translation was made by a non-native English speaker. We thank you for your understanding that this translation is probably not perfect.
Now, the Wikivoyage association already exists for thirteen years and gives active support for the work of the authors on the web-based travel guide project Wikivoyage by various means.
The project was established in 2006 with a first language version, the German one. One year later, the Italian language version followed. The concern of this web project was and is to provide freely accessible knowledge to travelers traveling both privately and professionally on their travel destinations like for instance the country itself, its people and sights, and to qualify them to respect and to become acquainted with the native people and, thus, to contribute to international understanding.
Of course it’s not easy to keep such a project going with just a few association members, authors, and supporters, especially if the project is still small and not so well known. However, nowadays we can state that we have achieved our goal to establish a future-proof travel-guide project and can assure the project both in terms of content, technology and finances in the future, too. And we like to thank for the support of the associations of Wikimedia Deutschland (WMDE) and Wikimedia Österreich (WMAT), too.
Since 3 May 2017, the Wikivoyage association is working as the Wikimedia user group “WVA Wikivoyage Association”.
Development of the project
The association exists for about thirteen years and is a sister project of the Wikimedia movement, fond of traveling, since 2013. The association actively supports the concerns of the Wikimedia movement. One of the goal of this project is to attract new volunteers for both Wikivoyage and the entire Wikimedia movement. The number of 21 language versions has remained constant since last year. Unfortunately, important languages are still missing for instance Arabic, Japanese, Catalan and Korean. In the case of the Arabic Wikimedia movement, the number of authors is low so that they cannot handle other projects besides Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and Wikidata.
Most of the readers came from India, U.S.A., Germany, Italy, China and Russia. Readers from Japan and the United Kingdom are still underrepresented.
There are still slight rates of increase in readers and accesses to Wikivoyage.
In November 2019, there were 1.4 million page views of German Wikivoyage articles from about 690,000 devices. There have been about 25 million views within the last 12 months. On average, readers study about 2.3 pages per visit. Two thirds of readers came from Germany (November 2019 981,000), followed by the U.S.A. (96,000), Austria (74,000), and Switzerland (62,000). There is still some potential in case of the last two countries, even though Switzerland's growth by about 60 percent in 2019.
For comparison, now the numbers to the English Wikivoyage. In November 2019, there were 3.5 million page views from about 1 million devices, and about 45 million in the last 12 months. Of these, 1.0 million were from the United States in November 2019, 217,000 from the United Kingdom, 201,000 from India, 160,000 from Germany, 124,000 from Canada, 82,000 from Australia and 51,000 from China. There is still potential in the English language version, but the presence of Wikitravel affects the results considerably intensive than in the case of the German or Italian language versions.
According to Alexa, in November 2019 12.0% of all visitors came from India, 10.8% from the USA, 10.3% from Italy and 8.5% from Germany.
In the past twelve months, there were about 97,000 edits in the the German Wikivoyage, and 232,000 in the English Wikivoyage. At the same period, about 1,100 (about 21 articles per week) and about 800 (15 articles per week) had been created on these two wikis, respectively. In the French, Italian, Polish, Russian and Chinese branches the number of articles steadily increased.
Beside writing articles, members and authors made extensive adaptations to templates, the programming of modules, which can be inserted directly into the articles, as well as to data transfers to the database project Wikidata mostly performed manually.
According to the purpose of the association, the association has and will continue to support the communities by projects, public relations and cooperation with other non-profit organizations. The association’s own server is used for archival purposes and the implementation of new project ideas such as the provision of map tools, too.
In 2019, the focus of the association’s activities was again on increased internationalization and international perception of the project but also on the technical support in crosslinking with other Wikimedia projects like the Wikimedia Commons media repository, with other language branches of Wikivoyage and with the database project Wikidata. Collaboration between the various Wikivoyage branches should be encouraged.
Since May 3, 2017, the the association is also recognized as Wikimedia user group "WVA Wikivoyage Association".
The board permanently informed its members about its work in newsletters via email.
The association currently has ten members. The number of members stagnated. The largest proportion of members were from Germany, one member is from Switzerland. However, at the end of the year three members will leave the association. In addition to the members, the association is supported by volunteer community members (volunteers, supporters). However, a larger number of members would be desirable.
In 2019, the number of active authors remained largely constant.
Collaboration with non-profit organizations in Germany and Austria
Both the collaboration with the non-profit Wikimedia Deutschland association in Berlin, Germany, started in 2012 and the collaboration with Wikimedia Österreich association in Vienna, Austia, started in 2016 were continued.
The association’s documents are published on the web at www.wikivoyage-ev.org in both German and English.
21st General Assembly (Online)
The statutory general assembly, which was held as an online meeting from 4 to 18 December 2019, was quorate with eight members. Essentially, the new budget, the minutes of the 20th General Assembly and the Annual Report 2018 have been confirmed.
The tax office of the city of Halle (Saale), Saxony-Anhalt, confirmed on June 16, 2017 that the Wikivoyage association continues to be a nonprofit organization.
Although the financial situation makes the continued existence of the technical infrastructure possible, but there are no funds to support new projects financially. In future we had to apply for funds of Wikimedia Deutschland association.
The server could not be taken out of service in 2019 yet. The late decommissioning is ultimately due to the high workload of our admins.
The amount of donations has significantly decreased.
Revenue and expenditure
The Wikivoyage association’s budget exclusively consisted in 2019 of membership fees and private donations.
Due to the non-profit status of the association no taxes are incurred.
The association maintains an account with HypoVereinsbank (Unicredit) to which foreign members can pay their contributions and donations.
The association’s charitable status was reconfirmed with the notice of exemption by the tax office of Halle (Saale), Germany, from June 16, 2017.
Contents and function
The Wikivoyage association ran a web server under the domain wikivoyage-ev.org also in 2019. The focus of this was on the provision of archived wiki systems for the collaborative creation of articles and information materials on countries, regions and locations of the world to the entire completion of the data transfer to the servers of the Wikimedia Foundation and the hosting of map tools.
Wikivoyage’s offer at the servers of the Wikimedia Foundation (wikivoyage.org) is aimed at readers who want to know more about other locations and countries as well as those who want to travel themselves and look for more practical advice.
The development of these articles has proceeded in a different extent. The cooperation is free to everyone and takes place exclusively on a voluntary basis. All contents of Wikivoyage can also be downloaded in their entirety from the server and can be used in various ways on the basis of their free open-source license (Creative-Commons-by-sa). The usage of this knowledge for instance on laptops and smartphones for reading without web connection was practically demonstrated, too.
All software customization specifically developed for Wikivoyage are freely licensed and publicly available. They can be downloaded from the servers www.mediawiki.org.
Development of the web presence
In the course of 2019, we stated an increase in awareness of the web domain www.wikivoyage.org and thus in page views and backlinks, too.
According to the purpose of the association, the association continues to support the communities by projects. The server of the association is used for instance for archival purposes and the implementation of new project ideas such as the provision of map tools.
Balance sheet at the end of the year
At the end of the year there were about 17.600 and 29.600 content articles in German and English, respectively.
This year's focus was on measures of quality control for the German branch.
- DerFussi worked intensively on the improvement of the documentation of templates, modules and help articles.
- Achimm55 provided a bot to detect broken links to various Wikimedia projects. This is necessary because, for example, renaming of articles and categories are not automatically detected by the Mediawiki software.
- RolandUnger continued to develop and debug existing modules and scripts. This mainly affected the scripts MapTools.js, Poi2gpx.js, MarkerTooltip.js, the vCard-Info (listing info) as well as the modules vCard and Marker. In particular, data import from Wikimedia Commons and OpenStreetMap has been improved.
Use of Wikidata
Wikivoyage increasingly uses data from Wikidata, including the display of booking and review portals. Wikivoyage is the Wikimedia project that uses Wikidata most intensively as compared to the number of articles (see also Glimpse over Wikidata, after about 6:50 minutes). Wikimedia Commons is the wiki in which the most articles / categories by number use Wikidata.
The association has campaigned for the continuation of further development of the Kartographer map tool this year, too, even after the end of the project by the Wikimedia Foundation. In November 2019, it was announced that the Wikimedia Foundation is discussing the creation of a different technology stack group for the Kartographer frontend and backend.
Goals for the year 2020 are:
- Reduction of the computing time of the vCard module,
- Propagation of an increased use of data from Wikidata in the non-German Wikivoyage branches in order to increase the up-to-dateness of the technical data of the facilities and sites.
- Support the Wikimedia Foundation in improving the Kartographer,
- Further development of the vCard / listing editor so that it can also be used on smartphones
- Testing Kiwix archives.
Despite the tense situation in the field of server administrators, the operation of the association’s server wikivoyage-ev.org could be ensured. There were no server failures.
Participation in events
RolandUnger repeatedly participated in the Wikimedia Summit for the user group. It took place from 29 to 31 March 2019 in Berlin. In addition to participating in the strategy discussions, several discussions were held with different communities. One focus was the possible creation of new language branches for Wikivoyage.
The association's chairman took part in this year's WindataCon 2019, which took place from 25 to 26 October 2019 in Berlin, Germany. WikidataCon is the biennial international meeting of authors and developers of the Wikidata database project.
In the past, Wikivoyage’s Facebook offer was edited by one author only. The community has argued not only to maintain the offer, but to serve with other authors, too. In addition to the travel destinations of the month, travel tips, important newly created articles and travel news are now also presented.
On August 29, 2018, the permanent survey "How did you learn about Wikivoyage?" was launched. Most readers came to Wikivoyage from Wikipedia or from a search engine result. Further suggestions came from the press, radio and television. Readers also came to Wikivoyage by the detour of Wikitravel, OSMAnd 3.1 and Wikidata.
In order to improve the social cohesion of German-speaking communities the user group is planning a Wikivoyage community meeting in 2020 or 2021 in cooperation with the Wikimedia Deutschland association.
International public relations
The association will focus its activities on the following tasks in the future, too:
- The association is also supported in its activities by volunteers who are not members of the association. In order to point out these possibilities of cooperation, corresponding pages on Meta (Wikimedia), the Wikivoyage wikis and the association’s site are created.
- Promotion of cooperation between the language versions with the aim
- to agree on uniform guidelines and rules,
- to avoid redundant work on geographic features
- to bring together the design and style of the language versions in fundamental ways,
- to support smaller language versions while establishing their wikis.
- Providing a human interface between the communities and the local Wikimedia chapters and user groups to promote projects and, in return, benefit from other projects such as “Wiki Loves Momuments”.
- Recruitment of new association members and supporters.
Selected newspaper articles
In the following two articles, Wikivoyage is recommended as a suitable travel guide.
- April 17, 2019: Dangelmaier, Daniel: Planung des Urlaubs im Netz (Planning the holiday on the net), Berliner Zeitung, April 17, 2019, issue 90, p. 26, category: Netzwerk
The author names about a dozen websites, including tripadvisor.de and holidaycheck.de, for travel preparation and execution. At the end he recommends: "Finally arrived at the resort, wikivoyage.org becomes a competent free travel guide. World travelers will be informed on a free platform about sights, special tips and recommended destinations."
- January 5, 2019: Pope, Conor: How to holiday in 2019 (on the web: Thinking about a holiday in 2019? Here are 30 great ideas), The Irish Times, January 5, 2019, Saturday Magazine, p. 39.
The author describes travel trends for 2019. At number 15 (out of 30 ideas) he suggests public transport, which will also save money and will be on trend. The information can be easily researched with Wikivoyage.
On TV and radio
- January 31, 2019, 12:15 pm - 1 pm: So geht Wikipedia (Wikipedia works in this manner) at the ARD-Buffet (German association of public broadcasters), Das Erste
In a six-minute interview with Fatma Mittler-Solak, Dr. Lukas Mezger, Chairman of Wikimedia Deutschland association, explains in short the structure of the website of the German Wikipedia, how to contribute for example to the article of Brussels sprouts and how the community ensures that articles are not victims of vandalism. The interviewer then turns the interest to the bottom of the Wikipedia home page, where the sister projects are listed. These are not familiar to many Wikipedia readers. Mezger points in particular to Wikivoyage. He concludes that the donations are managed by a non-profit organization, the Wikimedia Foundation. Before the interview, there was a short report on Wikipedia (entire program).
Selected documentation on the web
Two Internet press releases should be highlighted here. Topics are the increasing use of Wikivoyage as travel guides and planners and the lack of awareness of the brands of Wikivoyage and Wikimedia Foundation.
- May 2, 2019, Croy, Thomas: Was die Touristen nach Zwickau lockt (What attracts tourists to Zwickau) on Freie Presse
Of course, the author answers that the top destination in Zwickau is the August Horch Museum, followed by the priest houses, the cathedral of St. Mary's and the Robert Schumann House. This resulted from a Tripadvisor analysis. He also asks if the city uses web portals like Wikivoyage or Wikitravel to enhance their popularity. The head of Tourism & Markets of Kultour Z./Zwickautourist, Matthias Rose, is rumbling around and says: "This is not so easy to consider the multitude of platforms." He prefers to use his own website. With an Alexa rank of 2.5 million for Kultour Z. he should perhaps think again.
- February 7, 2019, McCune, Zack: How does the world see Wikimedia brands? on Wikimedia Foundation
The Wikimedia Foundation has investigated the awareness of its own brands, including Wikivoyage. It's no wonder that only Wikipedia is known. Especially hard is that almost nobody has an idea of Wikimedia (Foundation). 8 percent of respondents knew what Wikivoyage is (Wikimedia Commons: 13%, Wikidata: 20%). That should be better in future. However, it is not clear how carefully the survey was carried out: it is hardly understandable why 50 percent of respondents know Wikinews...
A detailed list of press releases can be found in the Press Coverage of 2019.
1st chairman of the Wikivoyage association