The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reached a compromise on IATAå‘s application to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) to oversee the distribution of a new Top Level Domain (TLD) .travel.
Under the agreement, IATA has agreed to give ASTA representation and a vote on the .travel Board and has assured ASTA that all industry segments will have a voice.
“This is the first time since 1995 that agents and airlines have found grounds of mutual interest on a controversial subject,” said Richard M. Copland, CTC, ASTA president and CEO. “IATA and ASTA have reached an agreement in principle. Part of that agreement is that policies and criteria for using .travel in a Web site address would be set by an industry decision-making Board.
“IATA has given ASTA a written commitment that ASTA will have a seat on the Board for the new domain and significant input into the criteria,” Copland said. “In addition, IATA has assured ASTA that no segment of the travel industry, including the airlines, will have a majority or controlling interest on the Board or the ability to veto a decision approved by the majority of Board members. That means the airlines will never have more than a minority of seats on the Board.”
IATA has also agreed that existing ASTA member travel agents with Airlines Reporting Corp. (ARC) accreditation will automatically qualify to receive a .travel domain name.
ASTA had objected to the original application on the grounds that IATA would set the criteria and approve applications for anyone in the travel industry wishing to use the .travel domain. ASTA will notify ICANN of the terms of its agreement with IATA.
Copland continued, “We have also been in touch with Name.Space, the other applicant for the .travel domain name, to ensure that its intentions are in the best interests of travel agents and the travel industry.”
ASTA sent an all-member fax advising its membership of the agreement in principle. Travel agents and other interested parties can log on to the ICANN Web site at www.icann.org and file comments on the IATA application with ICANN. ICANN extended the deadline for comments from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5 because of the high volume of comments. Other than informing ICANN of the ASTA/IATA agreement in principle, ASTA does not intend to take any further action on IATA’s application at this time.