Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Creating An Electronic Marketplace For Tourism

10.02.2004


A new initiative to implement open, ontology-based software on 12 European travel websites, creating an electronic market place for tourism is set to allow the travel industry to share information across geographical, linguistic and technological boundaries.



The Tourism Harmonisation Network (THN), a consortium open to public and private organisations set up by the Harmonise project partners with funding from the European Commission ’s IST programme, is currently in the process of launching the trials.

Harmonise on trial


"We know the technology works. What the trials will show is how the business plan should develop, what barriers there are and what potential there is," explains Manfred Hackl at EC3, who will coordinate the forthcoming trial phase of the project.

The trials, which are due to begin in the first half of this year and run for 18 months, will involve the implementation of Harmonise pilots on the websites of a variety of tourism actors, including national tourism boards in Spain, France, Portugal and Finland, regional tourism organisations in Italy and Austria as well as in the private sector.

The travel industry has been driven people’s desire to see different places and experience different cultures. But this diversity that makes vacations so appealing also represents one of its major problems. Technological differences between businesses, regions and countries have limited their ability to interoperate, cooperate and collaborate - until now.

Unlike other initiatives to increase interoperability, Harmonise does not seek to promote the standardisation of systems. As its name suggests, it harmonises them, allowing individual companies, tourism boards and information providers to retain the diversity of their own proprietary systems but allowing these to interoperate through the Harmonise platform. Being ontology-based, the platform operates as a kind of ’lingua franca’ between different systems.

By taking this flexible approach, Harmonise is cheaper and simpler to implement than standardisation, giving it enormous potential for widespread use by travel actors in Europe and beyond - so much so that the THN may eventually take part in the European Commission’s proposal for a European Tourism Portal.

"THN at present is a consortium and a concept, it is not yet an organisation with stable management, although our goal is to transform it into a non-profit organisation that could then participate in a European Tourism Portal," Antonella Fresa, who managed the project’s research phase, notes. "That will be one of the goals during the trial phase."

The need for interoperability

The problem the software platform solves has been as evident as it has been difficult to overcome. Take for example a soccer fan who wants to travel from his home country to another country where his team is playing away. He wants to fly in, travel from the airport to a hotel near the stadium, obtain tickets for the game and fly home again a day later. For a travel agent or tour operator to arrange the trip, they must contact the airline, the airport taxi service, the soccer stadium and the hotel to obtain the information. If all of these actors were connected via the Harmonise system comprehensive real-time information would be readily available.

That is not to say interoperability systems in travel and tourism are new, but until now they have generally been highly specific. Although the travel industry was one of the first sectors to employ information communication technologies for business-to-business commerce as early as the 1950s, these were - and largely remain - dedicated services for one sub-sector such as airline bookings or hotel reservations.

Given that there are an estimated 1.3 million travel and tourism businesses in Europe - 9 per cent of all European enterprises - and that 95 per cent of them are small or medium-sized and more than 40 per cent have websites, the diversity in both areas of operation and technologies is enormous. To date around one third of all e-commerce is accounted for by the travel and tourism sector, and with greater interoperability at a B2B and B2C level this can only expand.

"The value of the Harmonise system increases parallel to the number of members in the network," Fresa notes, stressing that the consortium is currently focusing on working with the public sector, and especially with key players such as the World Tourism Organisation and the European Travel Commission. Already the THN has expanded from its original seven members during the research and design phase that ended last July to the 14 partners who will carry out the trials.

"There is definitely space and a need for a tourism e-market place in Europe," Fresa says, pointing to demand for travel services from outside of the continent as well as internal demand. In addition, smaller destinations are seeking new methods of promotion, and as Fresa indicates, with an e-market place "it is just as easy to make a small destination as visible as a large one."

Tara Morris | alfa
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

nachricht Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Tracking movement of immune cells identifies key first steps in inflammatory arthritis

23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

Electrocatalysis can advance green transition

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>