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Username: USTAR
Date/Time: Fri, October 20, 2000 at 5:31 AM GMT (Fri, October 20, 2000 at 1:31 AM EDT)
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Subject: Travel Agents are Not Against .travel - Just IATA as Registrar


Dear Mr. Elbury:

USTAR appreciates your thoughtful comments regarding IATA's application for the .travel TLD. However, the protest from the travel agency community regarding .travel is in no way meant to prevent this TLD from being assigned. Our concerned is that it not be assigned to IATA, a trade collective which represents and favors only one sector within the vast travel industry, namely airlines.

As a frequent traveler, we cannot expect that you have nearly as much familiarity with IATA as we do. The organization has often been extremely heavy-handed and, in some cases, outright oppressive in its treatment of the travel agency community.

You state: "As a buyer of travel services I really wonder why these agents are so against supporting and abiding by a "code of conduct"  which would be agreed and set by us consumers and the travel industry as a whole ..."

Frankly, Mr. Elbury, travel agents have always been willing to abide by many forms of "codes of conduct", including the many we abide by today. However, IATA has a history of forcing its will upon nearly 90,000 travel agencies through one-sided Passenger Agency Sales Agreements and a host of other financial and administrative "adhesion contracts"; this does not bode well for IATA's unbiased and fair management of the .travel TLD.

IATA states in one of its posts on this forum that: "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, [and which] 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". USTAR believes this statement to be self-serving, as we are not aware of any effort to contact any travel agency association in the United States or elsewhere for that matter.

In closing, USTAR specifically stated, as have others on this forum, that our concern is solely that: "ICANN assure that any subsequent application by any another party evidence prospective management and administration of the .travel TLD in a fair, unbiased, and commerically equitable manner."

We do not believe that IATA is such a candidate. USTAR, and I suspect all travel agents in general, would happily support any third party applicant who could guarantee these basic fairness qualifications.

Thank you for allowing USTAR the opportunity to clarify our position.  


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