Travel suppliers from the air, car and hotel industries with the support of the Air Transport Association (ATA) and The Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), announce the formation of the Open Travel Alliance (the Alliance). The Alliance is a travel industry group, assembled to create and promote new electronic commerce standards that improve the way information is exchanged between suppliers, distributors and consumers. This new initiative, led by air, car and hotel suppliers, has set as its initial goal the delivery of a directory of common industry data labels to be exchanged among the travel supplier, distributor, and customer reservations computer systems. The Alliance’s goal is to include participation from air, car, hotel and other travel suppliers, but also global distribution systems and travel agencies, as well as many other developers of travel-oriented products and services. Open communication standards between the industries, developed by the Alliance, will facilitate a cost-effective exchange of information and will ultimately reduce duplication of efforts and create new innovative distribution opportunities. One of the Alliance’s first steps in moving toward this goal is the creation of an “open” set of standard XML definitions to facilitate communication between users. This “thesaurus” of terms will allow users to choose how they communicate between systems. Companies currently participating in the Open Travel Alliance are: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Midwest Express Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Trans World Airlines, United Airlines, Vanguard Airlines, Bass Hotels and Resorts, Hilton Hotels, Hyatt Corporation, Marriott International, Sterling Hotels, Swissotel, Alamo Rent A Car, Avis Rent A Car, Budget Rent-A-Car, Dollar Rent A Car Systems, Inc., Hertz Corporation, National Car Rental and Thrifty Car Rental. www.opentravel.com

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