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Wikipedia travel site Wikivoyage launching this week

Wikipedia is gearing up to launch its crowd-sourced worldwide travel guide this week.

The site, dubbed Wikivoyage, has been in beta form under the Wikimedia umbrella and is expected to officially launch on Tuesday, according to travel news site Skift.

During a recent discussion on US TV show The Colbert Report about his organisation's next priorities, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales spilled the beans about the upcoming travel effort, which has been under development for the last six months.

"We have a travel site that's opening up soon," Wales told host Stephen Colbert. "We'll see how that goes. It's Wikivoyage."

As Skift reported, the Wikimedia Foundation agreed to host and support the new wiki page, despite opposition and a lawsuit from Wikitravel owner Internet Brands.

The Wikimedia Foundation did not immediately respond to request for comment.

The worldwide travel guide is now readying itself for a 15 January launch with a clear set of goals and "non-goals," which Skift said serve as guideposts "to the already-hammered travel guidebook publishers and startups looking at this new giant free project as a threat to their existence."

Wales's new site has been built to serve the public, especially those travelers on the road, "huddled in a late-night Internet café in some dark jungle, who need up-to-the-minute information on lodging, transportation, food, nightlife, and other necessities," according to the site.

Meanwhile, the Wikivoyage developers took the time to outline exactly what the site will not be, including a travel essay anthology, a personal travel journal, or a vacation photo gallery service.

Once live, the new wiki will be open to any Internet reader who wants to create, update, edit, or illustrate any article on the site.

"We all share our pieces of knowledge, edit them, distill them, and assemble them into a pleasing and cohesive whole," the official Wikivoyage About page said. "The more people that use the Edit link, the better Wikivoyage becomes."