jonathan.fr has just made a forum post pointing out the varying definitions which exist regarding the number of "countries" in the world and referring to the definitions being used by Web sites such a "Most Travelled People" (MTP), "Travellers Century Club" (TCC) and "The Best Travelled" (TBT) - http://www.worldheritagesite.org/forums/index.php?action=vthread&forum=4&topic=257&pa ge=6#msg11798
He has invited us to look at those sites and "consider" the differing approaches. I think those Web sites are well known to most of us - indeed a number of those registered on this site are registered on MTP and TBT as well (including, I note our esteemed "Webmaster"!!). But, looking through them, I came across something new to me in the form of the Mission Statement for TBT "Our Vision - TheBestTravelled.com (TBT) aims to become the leading interactive travel website for competitive travellers ....."
I had never before realised that there was a sub-genre of travel titled "Competitive Travel"!!
It appears that every activity nowadays has to be made "Competitive" - even baking a cake ("The Great Bake off" - a hit on British TV, and, no doubt, that of other countries too) and that "Travelling" can't escape!
A Google search on the term turned up -http://edition.cnn.com/2013/09/17/travel/competitive-travelers/http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/the-battle-to-be-worlds-most-traveled-man-2013080 9
with those same old names of Altaffer and Veley.
It does seem to me that the ever expanding list of countries created by MTP and TCC are largely designed to identify more and more obscure islands as "countries" for the very rich to try to get to as much as to bring out the most interesting places to visit..
I do have rather more sympathy for the approach taken by TBT compared with the other 2 - at least in its approach to and definition of "Regions" to visit - deliberately avoiding the word "Country". I have even had to hold myself back from registering and seeing how many of the 1281 regions I might have been to!!
As the CNN article indicates, it is very easy to be sniffy about such an approach to travel and everyone has the right to travel in the way they want to. Also, people in glasshouses..........!! As someone who has registered a reasonably large number of visited WHS on this site one has to be careful! But it does seem to me that there is a vast difference in "feel" as between the above 3 Web sites and this one. I see that both MTP and TBT do provide a facility to maintain a list of the number of visited WHS by traveller as well as of countries. But what do they do beyond providing the competitive framework? I have looked in vain for anything about the WHS themselves - it seems to reduce the activity merely to that of a "count".
So Els, please NEVER introduce "Hall of Fame" and Platinum" etc levels of WHS Traveller!! And, also please keep the visited count well hidden away from the "front" of the Web site as a minor add-on to the site's main purpose of collecting and disseminating information about WHS and how best to visit them !