The Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island send out a directive to its member this morning that reads, in part:
For 2005, Forrester Research forecasts 32.1 Million U.S. households will use the Web to buy leisure travel for which they will spend $63.6 Billion, securing travel as the largest industry in online commerce.1 Success on the Internet is more important to the tourism industry than any other but it is not without its challenges. One of the obstacles to tourism operators conducting business on the Net, is distinguishing oneself as a legitimate business against the scammers looking for a quick buck. Consumers are aware that only a minimal investment is required to launch a website and continue to struggle with trust issues and business loyalty.
The travel industry world-wide realized that this challenge could cripple online business in the very near future and responded with the new .travel domain. Most of you now have your own domain name which would be youcompanyname.com or youcompanyname.ca or youcompanyname.pe.ca. The main difference with the .travel domain is that any company seeking to purchase a .travel name must be pre-approved by a legitimate organization. In Canada, the .travel domain is administered by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC). Pre-authentication has begun through TIAC and will be open until September 5, 2005. Keep in mind that you are competing with other destinations, organizations and private companies all over the world so early pre-authentication is very important.
If you’re a potential .travel registrant, you might want to consult Edward Hasbrouck’s Internet domain names for travel page: he covers the history of the creation of .travel by ICANN (it’s not a pretty picture). Edward’s call to arms is a good one:
Why should anyone care that the Internet is being hijacked by commercial interests? The issue is, in part, whether the Internet will be governed democratically or ruled by money and back-room cronyism. It’s also about whether we should have top-level domains (like .com or .edu) for sectors of activity — open to everyone with a stake in those activities — or solely for industries and commercial interests. Will the Internet travel namespace be a virtual community of travelers, or a domain where — as in a speech I heard a while back by the then-president of one of the largest Internet travel agencies — “interactivity” and “participation” will be limited to the opportunity to click on the “buy” button?