Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Virtual Malaysia - Malaysia Tourism Portal

I was preparing a talk last year on Tourism Implications of Longtail Economics when I stumbled on the Virtual Malaysia website. Wow! -- they were doing almost everything that I was going to talk about.

Their website is highly interactive, allowing traveler tales and photo sharing; they provide a wide variety of live tools and tips for travelers; they have a section on mobile pocket travel; and they have even created a separate photography community site within their tourism portal. They have videos, music, and a beautiful 360 degree photo gallery! (Though they do not yet have a podcast.)

From the Community section of VirtualMalaysia.com:

  • Welcome to VM Community page, a place where valued users such as you get to take part in our many interesting features that we have installed especially for you. Share your travel experiences, memorable photos, or send personalised E-cards to friends and family. Join our membership programme and enjoy great discount on hotel stay and special discounted rates off VM merchandise! Tell us about your experiences or send us opinions about our portal in our Guestbook. just a little gesture from all of us as a way to say 'Thank You', we sincerely hope that you each and every visit to our website.

On my last visit to Kuala Lumpur I happened to meet the owner of the Virtual Malaysia, and learned that they have received numerous travel industry awards for online innovations. They clearly represent a likely model for a Web 2.0 destination portal, and I expect that many others will be copying them as time goes by. (VirtualMalaysia.com is not associated with any of the government tourism authorities in Malaysia.)

World 66 Guide (and Map Tool)

Wolrd 66 is another wiki travel guide, which allows users to freely edit and add text information (see Wikitravel). Unlike Wikitravel, however, World 66 does not feel like Wikipedia at all, and appears to be pre-loaded with text (Wikitravel has quite a few empty pages). World 66 also includes a useful Accommodation search facility.

The MyWorld66 tab takes you to a Travel Tools list that includes the cool Visited Countries map making tool that I previously blogged on my Geography for Travelers site. In addition to world countries, however, the tools allow you to make maps of US states and Canadian provinces.

Registering with the World66 website gives you "a homepage for your maps and for the other travel tools and your name will appear with the articles you write."

There is also a mobile phone version of the website (world66.com/alt/xhtml) and destination guides are available as .pdf files and in the repligo mobile phone format.


This is a Worldwide travel guide that looks and feels like Wikipedia (the popular user editable encyclopedia). According to the main page:

  • Wikitravel is a project to create a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide. So far we have 6931 destination guides and other articles written and edited by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

You can register and create a My Page, track certain articles, and track your own contributions.

Saturday, January 28, 2006


(click on the title above to go to the website)

From the website: "Yelp is the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great - and not so great - in your neighborhood and beyond. You already know that asking friends is the best way to find restaurants, dentists, hairstylists, and anything local. Now, Yelp makes it fast and easy to make and receive real reviews from real people." - It covers the SF Bay Area best, but is expanding to other US cities. Hopefully the rest of the world will come next.

Note that CitySearch.com has many more reviews for more places than Yelp, including its own Editorial Profiles. However, it has more of a Web 1.0 interface (feels like the Yellow Pages) and lacks social networking and community building tools.


(click on the title above to go to the website)

43Places is a highly interactive social website where people list and discuss both places they want to go to and places where they have been. Quite fascinating, with a lot of travel tips and place descriptions.

43Places also creates a map of the places that you have visited, which can be made accessible on your personal homepage. The process is a bit slower than the Visited Countries mapping tool that is found on World66.com, and it requires registration with the 43Places.com website, which World66.com does not.

BONUS SITE: When you register for 43Places.com you also join the 43Things.com website, where people answer the question: "What do you want to do with your life?" At the time of this posting, "Travel" was he most common tag (at 4278), and the most frequently listed goal that was tagged with Travel was to "Take More Pictures." See the top 15 Travel tagged goals list here.

A third tool that comes with membership in 43Places.com is 43People, where members list the people they have met and would like to meet.

Web 2.0 Travel Tools - Goals

This blog is devoted to creating a list of web 2.0 websites and webtools that are, in some way, related to Travel and Tourism.

What is Web 2.0? I suggest these websites to answer that question:

* Web 2.0 : the 24 Minute Documentary (video on TechCruch)
* Web 2.0 Videos and Powerpoint Presentations - If you are a visual learner, this is great
Wikipedia - "Web 2.0"
* You know you're Web 2.0 when... (Dion Hinchcliffe's Web 2.0 Blog)
* What is Web 2.0 (Tim O'Reilly)
* What Web 2.0 means to you
Go2Web20.net - The complete Web 2.0 directory - not really very complete as it only contains a handful of travel sites
* Virtual Karma - Complete List of Web 2.0 Applications - a bit more complete because readers can add their own selections in the comments area