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Username: DBToursInt
Date/Time: Fri, October 27, 2000 at 5:45 PM GMT
Browser: Netscape Communicator V4.07 using Windows 95
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Subject: Oppose IATA as travel domain provider


Dear Sirs:

I would like to make the following comments as tn why I think IATA :"SHOULD NOT  BE" a representative of the travel industry community.

I and I'm sure a lot of other travel agents have concerns about IATA having control over who is and who  isn't a travel agency and with good reason. I for one and many other travel agencies do not issue airline tickets by choice. If I  wanted to work for the airlines I would have applied to them. There are many, many, many agencies
who do not issue airline tickets and have been around for years. By
allowing IATA to control the travel industry you will be committing a great disservice to the travel agency community and to the public. If you give control to IATA over the  travel industry you will see an elimination of a lot of small agencies and only the mega agencies which are publicly traded will survive. The travel industry is made up of many, many small travel agencies and some mega agencies. We  can't all be a "Microsoft" of the travel industry.

A short background on my agency and myself. I started D & B Tours
International in April 1988. At that time I thought that issuing airline tickets was a money losing proposition because of the bias airline policies. I decided on specializing in cruises, vacation packages and tours. I am a graduate of the "Cruise Lines international Association: (CLIA) Associated (ACC) and Master Cruise Counsellor (MCC) programs including the CLIA management school at the University of Miami. I am also a graduate of the "Institute of Certified Travel Agents" Certified Travel Associate program (CTA). Both of these programs are recognized throughout the travel industry. Besides this I continually attend continuing education seminars, presentations and other programs to increase my knowledge of the travel industry. I am also an active member of the "Caribbean Tourism Association." My agency is licensed to do business in the state of Texas and I am licensed by the state of Texas to sell travel insurance to the
public. I have been written up in the "La Times Small Business Section" as well as a national magazine published by "Success" magazine for my outstanding service. With my almost 13 years of experience, formal education in the travel industry and such I am not recognized as a travel agent by the airlines and many suppliers. Reason being, "I don't issue airline tickets directly."

The airline tickets needed by my clients for their cruises and other
vacation packages are issued by my suppliers in conjunction with their
cruise or vacation package. Approximately 95-98 percent of my suppliers are members of the "United States Tour Operators Association" (USTOA).IATA says they lie at the very heart of the world’s largest industry–travel and tourism. and whose membership consists of 275 airlines, based in 143 different countries and territories, which together transport in excess of 95 percent of the world’s scheduled international air traffic. IATA’s membership runs the gamut from the  very largest airlines operating thousands of flights each day over worldwide route networks, to relatively small airlines concentrating on service in particular geographic regions of the world.  Please note that they control these 275 airlines and DO NOT control any other travel business. Their main business is "Airlines" and according to their application that's who they represent not the travel agent community. To me they are listed as an "Association" and have the power as to who  and who can not join.
They also seem to want to branch out and to "CONTROL" the entire travel industry to increase their power and financial power worldwide over the travel industry. In the IATA application they say that they are a not-for-profit association they have played a leading role in the global travel industry since 1919, with members in 143 countries and offices in 75 countries. Please let me remind you that their non-profit designation is for tax purposes ONLY. To stay in business they need to make a profit to cover their expenses. They say they will restricted the travel TLD, available only to businesses in a position to meet objective and transparent criteria which establish their legitimacy as reputable providers of travel-related products, services and information. What this means is those who do not issue airline tickets directly or adhere to some ridiculous rules will be
eliminate  because of the many, many travel agencies which choose
not to issue airline tickets.

IATA says that they are a not-for-profit organization and will operate the “.travel” TLD on a cost recovery basis. The going rate for a dot com domain name is about $30.00 to $35.00 per year, what does IATA plan on charging? Anything more than that than that would be ludicrous and only serve to show you that they are more interested in the financial aspect to increase their funds. AT $35.00 and only using their figures of 90,000 members that means they will increase their funding by $3,150,000.00. I would love to have a business where I could invest $50,000.00 and be "GUARANTEED" a return of $3,150,000.00. Where do I sign up?

IATA says that a “.travel” domain name will be available to all travel
suppliers who meet the application criteria to become a “.travel” certified provider. Each applicant will go through an accreditation process to evaluate their business fitness based on the submission of a comprehensive application that will include business plans
and financial requirements. The applicants will submit their
application directly to an accredited registrar, who will transfer the information to the IATA “.whose travel” accreditation staff will review and verify the application. Once approved, the Registry Operator will be instructed to proceed with DNS zone file generation. At this point, the domain name will go live on the ".travel" TLD.

Since I am not a publicly held company I figure that the disclosure of any company  financial or other information to anyone as a violation of my company's right to privacy and I'm sure that others will feel the same way as well, This also constitutes IATA to be a licensing authority which should be left up to the individual states or countries where the business is located.

IATA says they have been responsible for certifying the business-worthiness of over 90,000 travel outlets worldwide. What they mean is that they have authorize only 90,000 travel agencies worldwide to issue airline tickets out of the thousands and thousands of agencies worldwide. There are over 90,000 travel agencies in the US alone and more and more of them are steadily doing away with selling
airline tickets or are going out of business just because of the airlines policies and their commission cuts.
IATA says they will provide administrative and management functions to
ensure the success of “.travel”. IATA also says they will also maintain the critical function of providing accreditation services. All applications coming in to the registrars will be pre-screened and reviewed to ensure that data is complete. IATA’s team of highly trained accreditation specialists will review data, validating the business fitness and accountability that distinguishes the “.travel” TLD before the registry is given the go-ahead for DNS population.

IATA says they will also manage the registrar selection process, ensuring that all registrars meet the ICANN registrar approval criteria and the strict IATA evaluation. IATA will establish strategic relationships with the registrars to encourage them to add value to the “.travel” TLD by providing domain holders essential communications and marketing tools that will enhance their business success. 

The “.travel” TLD business plan requires that all operations -- Sponsoring Organization, Registry Operator and Registrars --  adhere to a series of policies that ensure standardization of services, and assure that each business operation supports both the ICANN and IATA policies. Most travel agencies will support the ICANN policies but I am not sure about the many, many individual travel agencies supporting IATA.

So as you see that if IATA gets the right to issue the proposed ".TVL" it won't matter what your  experience, your education, your knowledge, years in business, etc. If you don't fit into  "THEIR" little box then YOUR NOT a travel agent. "CASE CLOSED."  The heart of the matter is that ALL travel agencies will have to bow down to whatever IATA says we have to do and pay a enormous fee for the privilege before they will issue a ",travel" domain." I for one do not want to turn over control of my business to any association or anyone else for that matter.

Most travel agencies are now doing more work  and receiving less
compensation since the airlines have reduced their commissions. 
If IATA and their members truly represented the travel industry, "Why
did they allow their members to cut and then limit the commissions
paid to the travel agency community."  Another question  is "who controls the .com  registration to see if they are really a business licensed by their state or country?"

So you see it's not just a cut and dried situation. It's not like we are doctors  that have had a rigid curriculum before they receive their MD. Each agency is  as different and unique as is each agent. The bottom line is that I want to control my  own business and  not be controlled by somebody else. I prefer to paddle my our own boat and not have someone else do it for me.

In closing I respectfully ask that you reject the IATA application for
issuing the ".TDL" for the travel agency community. Each state in
the US has the right to issue business licenses and their authority should not be usurped by any outside organization. I am also confident that each country around the world has a similar authority to issue a business license and would not like their power usurped as either.

Bill Landgrover  MCC, CTA
D & B Tours International
Dallas, Tx.


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