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Harmonise announces launch of new product which will improve marketing opportunities for tourism

At a meeting in London last week a completely new service for the travel and tourism industry was presented to a broad cross-section of European industry representatives…

At a meeting in London last week a completely new service for the travel and tourism industry was presented to a broad cross-section of European industry representatives. Harmonise is a pan-European organisation which enables more cost-effective online marketing by the use of a unique software product.



Tourism today is an information business. Accurate, updated and detailed online information about a holiday destination often influences the selection of an offer which tourists find on the Internet. The major factor affecting the exchange of data between the providers of destination information and the travel retailers is the fact that tourism organisations or enterprises often use different data formats.



How can this weakness be overcome without an individual organisation having to change their data formats or develop and implement a new standard? Some of the key players in international tourism have been working on the solution to this problem within an EU-funded project called Harmonise by Harmo-TEN.



Among the partners co-operating in this project which will publish its final results at the end of 2005, are WTO (the World Tourism Organisation), ETC (the European Travel Commission), TTI (Travel Technology Initiative) and IFITT (the International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism).



This service is an enabler for the tourism industry which facilitates co-operation between individual players, says project manager Antonella Fresa from EC3, the E-Commerce Competence Center based in Vienna. It simplifies the exchange of information between national and regional tourism organisations or between travel agents, tour operators and destination information providers, thus enabling more cost-effective online marketing.



ETC which represents 33 European national tourism organisations is already using this product to incorporate different data formats in the new European Destination Portal: This European portal site which we are currently developing will be the major entrance portal for a holiday in European countries
says Karine Bruere, IT Manager of ETC.



Bruere was one of 40 participants at an information briefing held in London last week which included representatives from regional and national tourist organisations of Great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Austria, Switzerland and Hungary as well as from WTO, IFITT, and TTI.



At present the Harmonise solution is being evaluated by ten pilot sites in six European countries – the pilot installations will provide feedback for the establishment of the business which will take place at the end of this year when we shall make the Harmonise solution available to the market, says Antonella Fresa.



About 5 Million Euros have been invested during the last four years in research and development of the Harmonise solution with a substantial contribution coming from the European Commission. The scientific community is also benefiting from the experience of Harmonise in developing semantic web technology which is at the forefront of European research.

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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