TO: ICANN Reconsideration Committee
09 March 2001
Dear Sir or Madam:
I have received a copy of IATA's response to the comments provided to ICANN by USTAR and seven other travel agency associations. We feel it important to immediately correct, as a point of order, statements made by IATA in its reply.
IATA claims that at its ".travel TLD Summit" held in Geneva, 21 February 2001, that the collective result was:
"IATAs proposal for '.travel' has the support of all sectors of the global travel industry. Mr. Bishins participated in the recently held '.travel' Summit, in which over 50 representatives from the global travel community unanimously agreed to seek approval for '.travel'."
This is not true. What the participants agreed to do, including myself, was to study various options and core principals which "might possibly" be effective in reaching "eventual" support for the IATA .travel plan. Under no circumstances did the attendees support the proposal of .travel as currently filed with ICANN by IATA. In fact, to the contrary, attendees expressed deep concerns that IATA's proposal lacked, on its face, the core governance and structural components that would otherwise render support for IATA's application.
IATA's "report" of the meeting, attached in its reply to ICANN, is at best self-serving; at worst a complete mischaracterization of the meeting's proceedings. The report has not been reviewed or authorized by the official Summit working group, and thus, represents IATA's own, biased view.
I participated in this Summit for the purpose of assuring that IATA's proposal would be changed to overcome the very objections which my fellow colleagues raised at the Geneva Summit. I also wished to assure that IATA did not use the Summit as a propaganda vehicle to suggest that IATA had overcome the outright lack of support expressed by many travel industry organizations. Our fear that IATA would abuse the context of the Geneva meeting has been validated by the present submissions by IATA to ICANN in response to USTAR's (et al.) comments.
USTAR, and the associations which it represents, has agreed to work with IATA and other industry organizations to determine if there can be support for a .travel TLD. We have volunteered our time and input with the intention of arriving at impartial conclusions to settle this matter. However, under no circumstances should our cooperation on the .travel Summit "working group" be considered as any indication for supporting IATA's pending application/appeal at ICANN.
The very fact that IATA found the need to convene organizations to a Summit, to consider new conditions and recommendations from industry stakeholders, and to commission a working group to progress issues, is completely indicative that IATA's original application lacks completeness, a thorough treatment of issues, and administrative polish.
USTAR is willing to hear all sides of this issue and to contribute input where such input would be valid. However, we object to IATA's assertion that just because we are willing to be open to possibilities, that IATA has received our "de facto" support. This is simply not true, and I am certain that other members of the working group feel exactly the same way. Accordingly, we believe that IATA's application continues to evidence a lack of mature process and procedure and recommend to ICANN to uphold their original decision to disapprove the IATA .travel application at this time.
Thank you for allowing us to clarify this point of order.
Bruce Bishins, CTC
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