InternationalTravelExpoHK2009We’ve recently joined the 23rd International Travel Expo (ITE) from June 11 – 14 in Hong Kong (HKCEC) for BlueWater Day Spa. A lot of exhibitors were actually organized by each country’s government tourism department, what’s noticeable is how certain countries have presence online and uses it for marketing and how some don’t. These are my observations of countries that have shown their domain names as marketing tools:


Countries with domain names use different types of domain names, TLDs or ccTLDs. (By the way, apologies for the pictures that I took which are not so clear. I’m not good with photography and there were a lot of people there).


TOP Level Domain names (TLD)

TLDs are probably the most suitable domain name extentsion as it ranks higher in other countries as well. However, with its popularity, it is not always easy to acquire the one word domain name and could cost a fortune to acquire it.



.TRAVEL
I’m quite surprised with the use of two countries over the .TRAVEL domain name extension (to me that is, as it isn’t widely known yet). .TRAVEL, however, has great security as registration has requirements that only legitimate travel organizations can have.


Argentina


Argentina uses the domain name “Argentina.travel”, which is a one word and credible domain name. It isn’t exactly the most popular, but it could still become popular with their marketing of Argentina tourism.



Brunei

Brunei uses the domain name “BruneiTourism.travel”, which is really surprising as they went with keyword rich domain name than a short 1 word premium domain name. However, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is much easier than the premium counterpart.



.COM

.COM is the most popular extension in the world. The registration is open for everyone that’s why most Domainers have registered these premium GeoDomain names. The Premium GeoDomains attract millions of visitors (depending on the popularity of the country), and without much use of SEO.


France

France uses the domain name “FranceGuide.com”, I find it again targetting keyword rich domain name and avoiding the sky high cost of acquiring France.com.


Maldives

Maldives uses the domain name “VisitMaldives.com”, Again keyword rich domain names and avoids the premium domain name.


Myswitzerland

Switzerland uses the domain name “MySwitzerland.com”, It is unrelated to the keywords that people search for. The Domain name is a brandable type and with the budget of the Switzerland tourism, it sure will get some traffic in.



.INFO

.INFO (Information) is probably the cheapest domain name that is sold by registrars (promo price of GoDaddy a few months ago was around $0.99 / year. It’s also not the most popular domain name extension as not much developments has happened.

peru

Peru uses the domain name “Peru.info”, it is a premium domain name and uses a lease popular .INFO.



Country-Code Top Level Domain Names (ccTLD)
ccTLDs are not the best domain names (in my point of view) for tourism. The reason for that is that they’re targetting tourist from outside the country and Search Engines only gives ccTLDs priority if it was searched in the local area. So TLDs might get more Search Engine traffic than ccTLD’s do, and ccTLDs will need to spend more on marketing or SEO more.


.AZ

Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan uses the domain name “Azerbaijan.tourism.az”, it doesn’t seem to be the best domain name as it uses a subdomain name. For an outside tourism, it will not be seen in search engines. It will only get traffic thru their marketing promotions.



.GR

Greece

Greece uses the domain name “VisitGreece.gr”, the domain name seems to be marketed and SEO’d very well. Targetted keyword domain name is what they were after.


.KR

Korea


Korea uses the domain name “VisitKorea.or.kr”, the domain name is a ccTLD of Korea (.or.kr). It targets the keywords that people usually search for.


.CN

SouthAfrica


SouthAfrica uses the domain name “SouthAfricanTourism.cn”, it is great as they’re trying to target the chinese community and would make it visible to millions of Chinese. However the keyword they’ve chosen seems to be wrong (SouthAfrica vs SouthAfrican).




It is quite surprising that the tourism department of each country didn’t even bother spending a premium and going after the premium domain names. Right now, I believe not a lot of countries see the potential of domain names. I would recommend for them to purchase the .COM version and ccTLDs of their country names of their premium geodomain name, it will get them more people and could potentially get them good revenues from local advertisers. However, it could push countries one day to take over their premium domain names by contesting their domain names (Snowe Bill). So when governments start to open their eyes to the power of the internet, it could be very threatening to GeoDomainers, as their domain names could be taken away from them.


I’m amazed that SouthAfrica is on the right track going into each of the ccTLDs and marketing their website directly to each country. They’re spending more online but it would be a great investment one day and will get them more tourists in the future. The use of Tourism departments of domain names just shows where online marketing will be. Money in domain names will soon grow when more people become aware, but till then a lot of companies are wasting money not knowing how to get into the internet market. I hope this helps them out.

Tell us what you think!