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 New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>