Simple edits to Wikipedia can change where tourists travel.
This is a conclusion of a research conducted by Marit Hinnosaar, Toomas Hinnosaar, Michael Kummer and Olga Slivko.
They selected multiple Spanish cities with rather short Wikipedia pages and added text and photos to Wikipedia in multiple languages.
„We focused on information that was relevant to tourists, such as the city’s main sights and culture“, explained the researchers.
The pages were treated mid-August, 2014.
Year later, they discovered that the number of nights tourists spent in treated cities rose for about 9% when compared with cities in the control group.
“Well-targeted two-paragraph improvement of Wikipedia may lead to a significant increase in tourists overnight visits”, concluded the researchers.
Implications for the local economy
What are the implications for the local economy? According to recent estimates (García-Sánchez et al., 2013), each international tourist visiting Spain spends about 101 euros per day on average. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that improving a city’s Wikipedia page can lead to approximately 160,000 euros of additional revenue per year. This implies a considerable impact on local hotels and the overall local tourist industry.
“The impact of Wikipedia is unlikely to be specific to the tourism industry. Instead, we would expect that the information on Wikipedia affects choices and behavior in many domains“, concluded the researchers.