TOWARD Expansion into Europe

TOWARD, the leading proponent of global distribution standards for the travel industry, today announced its expansion into Europe with the opening of a new London-based office.

Formed in November 2000 by leading figures in the US travel industry, TOWARD`s (Tour Operators and Wholesalers Achieving Real-Time Distribution) mission is to create global distribution standards for the international leisure travel industry by bringing together key players in the world of travel and technology. The association`s membership includes some of the industry`s major forces including Galileo, Hertz, GOGO Worldwide Vacations, Carlson Hospitality, Amadeus, Avis Rent A Car, Far & Wide Travel and Apple Vacations.

According to TOWARD, the opening of a European office will enable it to promote the adoption of technology standards across the worldwide industry by working alongside leading advocates of universal specifications in Europe such as the UK`s Travel Technology Initiative (TTI), which recently launched its own XML standard for web-based agency package holiday bookings.

Heading the new office is TOWARD`s European membership director Andy Cook, formerly managing director (Americas) of MIC, pioneer of the leisure accommodation industry`s first global distribution system. Said Cook: “Travel is a global industry, it needs a global distribution approach. Although we welcome the international industry`s growing acceptance of technology standards, there is a danger individual regions will simply develop their own solutions and that no international standards will emerge. By expanding into Europe we will be better placed to cooperate with the European sector and influence its move to standardisation resulting in a truly global approach.”