The 9 March "Point of Order" e-mail from Mr. Bruce Bishins does not dispute most of the statements in our 9 March response to his 23 February submission regarding the IATA request for reconsideration of our ".travel" TLD application. For example, there is no rebuttal of the following points: (1) there is a clear need for a chartered ".travel" TLD; (2) IATA has developed equitable governance policies and procedures to fairly administer the ".travel" TLD; and (3) there is an overwhelming interest in the new ".travel" TLD. However, Mr. Bishins does characterize the official Report of the February 21 ".travel" Summit as "biased," and disputes the statement in the Report that "[t]he meeting unanimously concluded that a '.travel' Top Level Domain is desirable for the travel and tourism industry, and should be pursued on the basis of [certain listed] * * * principles * * *." Neither of these assertions by Mr. Bishins is correct.
First, there is nothing biased about the official Report. It was prepared from notes taken during the ".travel" Summit and was approved by Senator Herman de Croo, the President of the House of Representatives of Belgium, who served as Chairman of the Summit and is neither an official of IATA nor of any of its member airlines.
Second, the Report is entirely accurate, especially with respect to the fact that, during the Summit, the attendees expressed unanimous consent for proceeding with the ".travel" application. Mr. Bishins' current position -- that he and other attendees expressed disapproval for moving forward with the ".travel" application at this time - is simply not true. It is contradicted not only by the Report, but also by Mr. Bishins' own contemporaneous conduct. The ".travel Summit lasted the entire day of 21 February, with Mr. Bishins present for the entire event. He had plenty of opportunities to voice dissent or to get up and leave if he was unhappy with the tenor of the meeting. Instead, not only did he join in the unanimous consent for proceeding with the ".travel" application, he went a step further and volunteered to be a member of the Working Group for the advancement of the application. He even attended the first session of the Working Group which was convened immediately after the ".travel" Summit. In addition, Mr. Bishins was sent a copy of the official Report on 26 February. However, IATA never received any communication from him which disputed any aspect of the Report.
Mr. Bishins is certainly entitled to his opinion about ".travel." But he is not free to distort the truth as to what actually transpired at the ".travel" Summit. The fact that Mr. Bishins now wants to express disapproval or at least hesitation about moving forward with ".travel" must be placed in proper perspective. While Mr. Bishins asserts that not all of the sectors of the travel industry favor ".travel", he loses sight of the fact that neither he nor the group(s) he claims to represent constitutes a single sector of the travel industry. Mr. Bishins may be spokesman for a number of travel agents but the vast majority of travel agents, represented by other Travel Agent associations present at the ".travel" Summit, support ".travel." Mr. Bishins may not like this fact but it is a fact and he certainly presents no empirical evidence to the contrary. The opinions of Mr. Bishins and the people he recruits as part of his e-mail campaigns must be considered within this overall framework.
IATA is committed to developing policies acceptable and agreeable to all sectors of the travel and tourism industry. We now have a Working Group with representatives from all sectors of the industry working with us to develop those policies which will be presented to a second ".travel" Summit that has tentatively been scheduled to take place in Montreal in the second half of May.
13 March 2001
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