The growth of internet and e-commerce have transformed the way businesses operate. The wide availability and far-reaching accessibility of the internet has bolstered the expansion of the travel and tourism industry across the world. This expansion gave rise to Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs), online intermediary platforms that are used by anyone, ranging from a ordinary citizens to multinational companies to advertise, book and browse accommodation for travel. Through these OTAs, people are now a click away from finding the best accommodation as per their needs from across the world. Because the OTAs act as a hosting platform for the buyers and sellers and do not post content on their own, they traditionally enjoyed the safe harbour protection where they are not held liable for content posted by the users. But, in the recent times, the explosive growth of these OTAs has intrigued the regulation of the manner in which the OTAs across the globe operate. Governments all over the world are now placing regulations and compliance requirements on OTAs, heavily impacting the safe harbour protection granted to the OTAs.
This two-part White-paper series entailing the impact of sectoral regulations on the safe harbour protection granted to OTAs by looking at the different sectoral regulations, existing as well as proposed in India and across the world. The first and second part of the Whitepaper series deal with regulations on OTAs in the Indian and global scenario respectively, in conclusion presenting issues which require attention on part of the regulators and the corresponding proposed solutions or recommendations.