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Username: dot-travel
Date/Time: Thu, October 19, 2000 at 2:46 PM GMT
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Subject: A Reply from the IATA dot-travel Team


Several travel agents have posted comments concerning IATA's ".travel" TLD application.  It is no secret that the travel distribution system has come under certain pressures in recent years.  This has naturally required adjustments in the travel agent community.  Perhaps not surprisingly, this environment has engendered suspicion by some travel agents of anything the airline industry proposes, even an initiative such as this which is designed to assist travel agents in fully exploiting the opportunities of e-commerce to expand their business and generate new revenues.

A number of these comments reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of both the ICANN process for awarding sponsorship of restricted TLDs, and the IATA application.  The comments refer to IATA seeking "ownership" of the ".travel" TLD, and to IATA proposing to "acquire and control '.travel' domain names."  The IATA proposal is not about ownership or control.  If granted by ICANN, IATA would be designated to sponsor the ".travel" TLD for a fixed period of time.  Moreover, the IATA application makes clear that IATA is seeking partnerships with other entities from throughout the travel industry, including travel agent associations, who would be encouraged to act as registrars for the TLD, would serve on the ".travel" Advisory Board and the IATA-Registrars Forum, and thus would have a direct role in setting policies for the TLD.   IATA is well aware that if this new TLD is to be successful, it must be managed in a way that is responsive to its constituents, and that does not favor any one group over another.  The IATA application therefore seeks to maximize the opportunities for input from other groups representing the breadth of this diverse industry, including, of course, travel agents, to give consumers greater confidence in doing business with websites registered in this TLD.  

For the reasons stated in the application, IATA believes the ".travel" TLD will be an attractive part of the Internet where many travel related businesses, including travel agencies, will want to register their domains.  Any business that, for whatever reason, does not wish to register in this TLD will have numerous alternatives available to them, including ".com" and no doubt various other new TLDs that may be authorised by ICANN in this proceeding.  No one will be forced to use the ".travel" TLD.  It will simply be one more competitive option available to those who decide its characteristics fit with their own business strategies.

IATA is a worldwide association and is well positioned to operate the ".travel" TLD for the World Wide Web.  By introducing objective and transparent criteria - developed with the input of travel agent and other industry associations - this TLD will enable consumers to have confidence in doing business with entities, including travel agencies, located far from their place of residence.  Creation of this TLD will expand the overall market for travel services; it will expand business opportunities for those entities which choose to register their domain names here; and it will give the consuming public new choices for purchasing and obtaining information about travel services.

As many of the comments acknowledge, ".travel" is an idea whose time has come.  IATA has proposed a way to make this a reality - in partnership with the entire travel community.  Let's focus on the merits of  ".travel"!

Best regards to all,
The IATA dot-travel TLD Team
Geneva, Switzerland


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