– the international portal for European Travel

Friday, June 13. 2008


Some weeks ago I have reviewed the travel community, which mainly builds on user generated information about different travel destinations all over the world. This time I will write about a different approach of giving travel information. The European Travel Commission (which is an association of 37 national tourist offices from all over Europe) has created - an information portal, about their countries and travel destinations.

The approach to information providing is completely here. Where a travel community likely will give you somehow “user-biased” information about certain travel-destinations, which might require knowing more about the users, who wrote certain articles, guarantees, that information is only biased by the local travel agencies, which compile the information about their country ;-) But that is a perspective I can very well live with, since I know that the information is kind of official and therefore reliable!

The main feature of is a flash-based interactive travel map, which allows you to zoom onto all countries of Europe and get information about those possible travel destinations. This is a really nicely programed tool - unluckily it won't work on any mobile phones, which don't have flash support (both my S/O/N/Y P1i and my iPhone don't support flash :-() The map tool allows you to browse Europe by both region and country. So if you are interested in more than one country, this might be helpful, as well. Browsing through those regions, there is a short information texton the regions. Chosing to get more information here, you get rerouted to the portal, with detailed information about the regarding region or country. The information is very detailed, and reminds me to early versions of MS Encarta. But since we are talking about a information portal here, there are plenty of links, which guide you to more information about the countries.

The main page of also provides news about interesting events all over Europe. There is a news section pointing out current information on big events. But there is still more. Categories "Where to go", "Things to do", "Accomodation", "How to travel", "Useful Info", Images and "Toolbox" are providing various information about traveling through Europe. Especially if you are not European and use to travel here anyway, the information provided through the portal can be extremely helpful.

If you want to get an overview on what interesting destinations Europe might provide in general – is the place to go. It is interesting to brows through different country information and to get information on various cities. There are also relevant links to get you to more information, which is exactly the purpose of an information portal! From my point of view I would like to see more community features, even if it is just a portal. Probably just as simple as to rate different articles or information. Just a little more interactivity.

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Thursday, May 15. 2008



Travelers always have been an interesting target for web communities – they seek information about places far away – and they want information tailored to their specific needs and they want it reliable. All those are requirements an internet community about travel can give them. People writing about all those places – probably people similar to them be it backpacking or staying in 5* hotels can be found in communities. Also you’ll have the chance to make a picture of those people visiting their profiles or following their posts, and therefore be able to judge about the reliability about information.

But I don’t want to write epic descriptions about travel communities in general – just to set up those three features I would seek for in travel communities:

  • get information about places far away
  • tailored to my needs
  • get community functions to connect with other and to allow me to judge about reliability

Depending on the extend those features are fulfilled I might be interested in sharing my own experiences in such a community

The community

Thanks to Trigami, I was made aware of the chance to have a glimpse at the new travel community Choosing the exotic and extinct dodo-bird (not to confuse with the professor at the University of Bamberg, carrying that first name) as an mascot. provides six main navigation sections.
  • The first home sections gives an overview about current community activities like new travel tips, new members, new fotos, new videos and new travelogue entries.
  • The second section “travel tips” shows user reviews about something the different sections remind me a bit to qype, where you can write reviews about places, restaurants and sights, too.
  • “Travelogues” consists of peoples travel experiences. Each entry there is accompanied by a map, showing the location of area it is about, and information about the member writing the entry.
  • Then there are two sections with Photos and videos. Each is offering “new” and “popular” items, and a categorization via country. You are also encouraged to upload your own material – but it hast to be attached to a travelogue.
  • The last section probably is the most interesting one – the classic “my”-section being the gateway to most of the individual community settings & connections. You can get an overview about your profile there, change your Profile, see all your travel tips, travelogues, photos, videos, bookmarks and of course your friends and messages.
  • Apart from those main features there is also the obligatory (?) making of Blog with information about the making of It’s quite interesting to catch a view pictures of the young team behind there.

My thoughts

So far offers all features, which are quite essential to publish some travel information on the net. All items on the homepage are well structured and easy to understand. Even a total beginner, or people not to familiar with Internet communities should have no problems in getting around at the homepage. The requirements I stated in my prologue are partially fulfilled. I can retrieve infos, I can judge a little bit, by looking into people’s profiles – but how can I tailor them to my needs? Some more categories e.g. “backpacking” or “luxury travel” or at least a basic folksonomy could greatly improve likelihood to find interesting information.

But it is still beta so the features are yet(?) limited. They provide a well working homepage, but they lack some excellence I would hope for, in such a new piece of social software. Things I would like to see there:

  • Possibility to link external media sources – connect the community to your feeds on Flickr, Youtube,, picasa, Gallery2
  • Connect your personal profile to other travel related pages e.g. Couchsurfing and hospitalityclub
  • Make the content accessible via Folksonomy (aren’t tag clouds always a nice gimmick?)
  • More options for your profile. If you’ve seen a few facebook profiles, you know how much time people might actually spend organizing there user profile. A portfolio of widgets and the possibility to post own marked up code should be a minimum
I'm really interested in following the further development of the community.

You're chance to win!

In order to encourage users to register and become active members of the community the makers are making a draw at the end of the year, giving away a trip worth 10.000 EUR. The more activity and the more persons you invite into the community, the higher your chance to win! So if you sign in to – be kind and use my invitation link.

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Reverse Travelblog online

Wednesday, November 7. 2007

On Mörschi's Farewell party we had an interesting idea. We know already plenty of those travel blogs, where people report from there journeys. Of course Matthias will have one of those, too. But we will be writing a weblog for him reporting all those things he is missing, while staying abroad. So far I set up the weblog on and invited some of his friends to join the blogforce there. I also wrote an introductionary post, and wrote a little post about the Farewell party. Let's see how this project develops!

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En route

Tuesday, August 14. 2007

Click for full size image

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