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UNTWO, OTA aid digital divide

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) are joining together to strengthen the common language for electronic travel interactions at the recently concluded ITB travel show in Berlin.
Mr. John Turato, Chairman of the OpenTravel Alliance and VP of Cendant Car Rental Group said “OTA’s partnership with the UNWTO will support and extend the global adoption of OTA specifications, facilitating the speed of ICT expansion”. He added the partners would cooperate to develop support material for the standards for a worldwide audience to encourage their spread. “Our membership outside North America is growing, and partnering with UNWTO will allow us to meet the expectations of the worldwide tourism industry.”

UNWTO will provide a global forum for adoption of OTA specifications and the OTA will act as the technical arm of the UNWTO in the area of travel related technology and specifications. Together they will seek to involve an increasing number of stakeholders and to extend the scope of existing XML standards.
The OTA and UNWTO will act as stewards of unified global travel standards/specifications, under WTO’s UN structural umbrella and will strive to create an environment that will be inclusive of other standards bodies and tourism organizations

When signing the Memorandum of Understanding, Mr. Francesco Frangialli, Secretary General of UNWTO said that “Our two organizations share a common view that open global travel standards are beneficial to the world economy, will aid in the reduction of the “digital divide” for the poorest countries and enhance prospects for development of tourism worldwide. We also share a belief that by uniting our efforts we will send a signal of public, private sector collaboration that others will embrace.”