If you've ever wondered how much attention people pay to Wikipedia articles about your home town or other vacation hot spots, wonder no more. The eyes of millions are upon you and ready to travel.
Economists at two European institutions—Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin, Italy and Mannheim, Germany's ZEW—found that a few simple edits to a Wikipedia page can lead to €100,000 or more in increased tourism revenue for a small city.
The researchers picked a random selection of Spanish cities for the edits; Wikipedia can be freely edited by anyone. They added a few paragraphs of information on the cities' history and local attractions, and dressed each up with a few high-quality photographs. The text and photos were imported into Italian, German and Dutch versions of Wikipedia from the Spanish versison.
They found that two paragraphs of text and a single photo increased nights spent in the city by about nine percent; places that had had barely anything on their pages before got an even bigger bump, by as much as a third.
One wrinkle: While users are free to edit Wikipedia, commercial editing is not permitted and editors on the Dutch site, spotting the changes, decided they had crossed the line and deleted them. Still, there's nothing to stop towns around the world from paying a bit more attention to their Wiki presence!