By Joe Buhler

In less than ten years since the first wave hit with the introduction of online travel agencies, the travel industry is again undergoing radical changes.

Online travel, in what ever form it was and still is defined, became the largest industry on the web in record time. Changes on a scale imagined only by few, have happened since then and there is not one segment of the travel industry that is not affected by that first shift to commerce transacted online.

By the end of last century, it was mostly in the United States where the initial start-up companies were concentrating their efforts and where the phenomenal growth first took place.

Today, the impact is felt around the globe and the fastest growing regions are now Asia/Pacific and Europe, and the original online travel agencies (OTA) are players on a global stage. In the past few years they have, at least in Europe, been joined by the traditional major tour operators who are now engaged in intense competition with these intruders on what many considered their turf, and after having been written off by many only a few years ago.

In a recent article, Travel Industry Wire coined the new expression of the