Tour Industry Electronic Distribution Body Set to Launch in Europe

Plans to create a new Europe-wide tour operator-centric travel technology body are to be discussed at a meeting for potential members during World Travel Market

week in London next month.

Andy Cook, European director -TOWARD
The move is being led by TOWARD

(Tour Operators and Wholesalers Achieving Real-Time Distribution) - the US-based proponent of electronic distribution for the travel industry, which is now aiming to create a European arm.

Already leading companies including Anite, Pegasus Solutions, Sapient and Atinera have announced they will support the meeting, taking place at the offices of business and technology consultancy Sapient in London on 14 November 2002.


Around 30 companies drawn from tour operators, travel agency chains, hotels, car rental companies, airlines and technology providers have been invited to attend the event.

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

TOWARD`s European director Andy Cook said tour operators will be the organisation`s key driver working alongside the rest of the travel industry supply chain.

Said Cook: “Travel is a global industry, it needs a global approach to distribution. By expanding into Europe we will be better placed to engineer change in the European travel industry and to influence its move towards fully automated supply chains. We will work in tandem with TOWARD in the US to create global change.”

Cook added that if the inaugural event was successful and a European body was formed, TOWARD will finalise the structure for a European affiliate body with an official launch targeted in the New Year. He said the organisation would also supplement TOWARD`s twice-annual US conferences with European events featuring high-profile speakers addressing key technology issues.

Related stories on ITN:

(21/02/2002) TOWARD Expansion into Europe