The travel marketplace is a global arena where millions of buyers (travel agents and the public) and sellers (hotels, airlines, car rental companies, etc.) work together to exchange travel services. Nowadays, more travel is sold over the Internet than any other consumer product. The Internet is a perfect medium for selling travel as it brings a vast network of suppliers and a widely dispersed customer pool together into a centralized market place.

However, any discussion of the Internet as a distribution channel for travel needs to start with an understanding of the existing electronic distribution infrastructure, the Global Distribution System (GDS).

In addition, there are several smaller or regional GDSs, including SITA’s Sahara, Infini (Japan), Axess (Japan), Tapas (Korea), Fantasia (South Pacific), and Abacus (Asia/Pacific) that serve interests or specific regions or countries. In this article, we will provide a closer look at the four major GDSs.