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Dot-travel changes raises questions about destination management organizations. Were tourism boards given enough time to register dot-travel?

Dot-travel changes raises questions about destination management organizations.  Were tourism boards given enough time to register dot-travel? ( This week, Tralliance, the registry for the dot-travel domain, will be relaxing the eligibility requirements for domain names. Tralliance has also decided to release the names of destinations that have not been claimed by governmental agencies: making nearly 300,000 reserved place names available for open registration.

The result has created a second land rush for the dot-travel domain. Dot-travel registrars such as EnCirca ( have responded to the renewed interest by accepting pre-orders for customers interested in securing local destination names.

“We have seen a dramatic surge in new authentication requests for dot-travel”, says Tom Barrett, President of EnCirca. “This tells us that the new changes will be bringing new travel companies to the dot-travel domain. This bodes well for increased use of .travel domain names.”

The reason for the renewed interest, which is demonstrated by requests from hundreds of travel agents and hospitality providers, is that these rule changes are an opportunity to register travel destinations that can be used as keywords for search engine marketing. These alert travel companies are rushing to become authenticated so that they can be first in line to register destination names on December 21.

Under the new rules, companies still need demonstrate they belong to the travel and tourism industry. However, the restrictions on what names they can register have been eliminated. Companies can now register any names they wish on a first-come, first-served basis.

When the dot-travel domain was launched two years ago by Tralliance, country names and other place names were reserved for registration by the applicable governmental authority, agency, tourism board or convention bureau that held a right to such place names. Hundreds of tourism boards took advantage of this opportunity to grab their destination name, including, and

Unclaimed country names remain reserved by Tralliance for government use. But, effective December 21, commercial travel organizations can now own destination names previously reserved for tourism boards and governmental agencies.

The rule changes have also raised some questions about how Tralliance, the dot travel registry, is treating governmental bodies with respect to destination names.

One view, expressed by Burkhard Herbote of the World Tourism Directory (, is that destination names in dot-travel should be forever reserved for governmental agencies.

“It is simply not realistic to expect most of the DMO’s already have heard of dot-travel.” says Burkhard Herbote. “I am not aware why [some DMO’s] did not register their dot-travel address, whether they have been sleeping or whether it was a firm decision to NOT use “their" domain. But I am more than convinced, if is not 100% saved for the relevant destination marketing organization, the idea of .travel is not going to work.”

Another view, expressed by Skip Hoagland of Information Centers, Inc, which owns about 600 city names in dot-com and other extensions, is that Tralliance never should have reserved destination names in the first place and allowing governmental bodies to register the most valuable destination names was a mistake.

“Government entities should not be in the for-profit media/advertising sales business to fund their bureaucratic activities at the expense of tax-paying, for-profit companies,” says Skip Hoagland. “As an example; a Chamber Of Commerce's main purpose is to foster support, good will and help for all its members to survive and prosper, not to deplete local ad budgets competing with their local media members. Same goes for any city, state or country government.”

The dot travel changes are scheduled to take effect on Friday, December 21 at 18:00 Eastern Standard Time. All released destination names will be available from any travelregistrar on a first-come, first-served basis, provided applicants are first authenticated as bona fide members of the travel and tourism community. Travel companies may pre-order starting December 17 at 12:00 Eastern Standard Time with travel registrars such as EnCirca (

Governmental agencies may still claim their destination names before the new rules take effect. They can also claim the names after the December 21 deadline, as long as the destination names are still available.

By Thomas Barrett - EnCirca (

By: Thomas Barrett
Phone: +17.819429975

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