September 18, 2020 - 11:03 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - One of the most cost-effective ways tourism chiefs can drive business to their towns or cities is by updating their Wikipedia page, according to new research.
An experiment by economists at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy, found that a few simple edits to a Wikipedia page could lead to an extra £100,000 a year in tourism revenue for a small city, underscoring the power of the free online encyclopaedia, The Guardian reports.
The researchers randomly selected cities across Spain to receive targeted improvements to their Wikipedia pages, adding a few paragraphs of information on their history and local attractions, as well as high-quality photos of the local area.
It didn’t take an expert, either. Most of the content added was simply translated over from the Spanish Wikipedia into either French, German, Italian or Dutch.
Doing so had an immediate and remarkable effect: adding just two paragraphs of text and a single photo to the article increased the number of nights spent in the city by about 9% during the tourist season. In some instances, the increase was even larger. For cities with barely anything on their Wikipedia pages, a minor edit could raise visits by a third.
The paper isn’t the first to suggest the outsized influence of the online encyclopaedia. Another, cited by the researchers, found that adding new scientific content to the encyclopaedia “causes changes to hundreds of related scientific journal articles”. Even professional academics check Wikipedia, and frequently cite the same papers that are cited on the website itself.