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 June 01, 1999

 The IOTO, plans to launch the Indian Ocean's first commercial tourism Web site.
Building on the early success of its Organisation Web site and on its role as the electronic gateway to Indian Ocean tourism, IOTO now plans to take this technology opportunity to the next level and to launch a commercial site on the Internet mid-1999. IOTO's current Organisation Web site address is
Designed to enable IOTO member destinations, companies and others to directly and substantially increase their access to the incredible growth of Internet users accessing travel information and making bookings online, the new IOTO commercial Web site will enhance the marketing services and benefits that the Organisation offers its members.
"IOTO sees great value in effectively capitalising on the amazing growth in Internet use - currently in North America and very soon also in other major visitor source markets like China," said IOTO Chairman, Tunku Iskandar of Malaysia.
The new IOTO commercial Web site will offer all IOTO members the equal opportunity to directly benefit from the rapid travel and tourism-related growth in electronic-commerce and in particular from online reservations. In addition to an appropriate - and a greatly upgraded - role as Indian Ocean tourism's electronic gateway, the new IOTO site has been developed with the specific objective of serving as an effective conduit between the Internet user and IOTO members, through whose sites firm bookings can be made online.
"Perhaps the new site's greatest value to IOTO members of all sizes and in all 25 core member destinations around the Indian Ocean, is its role as a further generator of electronic business. The Organisation's members will welcome new and additional business -- and, in return for a comparatively small investment, they will be stakeholders in a professionally developed and operated Web site that will deliver more business," Tunku Iskandar added.
Motivating IOTO to move ahead on this new electronic tourism marketing opportunity are surveys like that recently conducted by sister tourism body, the Travel Industry Association of America (TIAA). This determined that nearly 77 million Americans are now regular Internet users and that over 7 million of these had booked and paid for an airline ticket, hotel room, rental car, package tour online.