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Final review of TOURISMlink project at June conference in Brussels

TOURISMlink has completed its trial period, but what does the future hold for the platform and Europe’s fragmented tourism industry; A conference in Brussels will review the European Commission-backed project.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – TOURISMlink’s pioneering work over the last two years will be celebrated at a large-scale review of the project at a conference held at The Square, Brussels on June 24, 2014.
    
The last two years are considered a success, but the review conference will be an opportunity to discuss the difficulties still faced by the industry and what solutions TOURISMlink can offer.

Backed by the European Commission, TOURISMlink provides a Europe-wide platform on which small travel businesses – such as hotels, restaurants and cafes – and travel agents or tour operators can connect and share information. Two years of pilot studies have led to considerably greater understanding of the needs of Europe’s fragmented tourism industry and those involved in the project hope to see TOURISMlink achieve its final goal of fully integrating Europe’s tourism SMEs into the digital market.

Travel industry professionals from across Europe will join delegates from the European Commission as well as representatives of tour operators, travel agents and tourism service providers at the day of presentations and round table discussions. As well as focusing on the findings of the pilot project, the conference will be an opportunity to discuss solutions to ensure the future of TOURISMlink.

High on the agenda: problems TOURISMlink was created to solve, such as the lack of agreed technical standards in tourism ICTs and their role in responding to the change in tourism demand.

Insights into the progress TOURISMlink has already achieved in nine source countries and three destination regions across Europe will be the key takeaways from a special session dedicated to the travel companies which participated in the pilot project.

Attendees will also get the chance to participate in roundtable discussions. The first discussion will investigate the advantages of pan-Europe interoperability for tourism IT providers and the role TOURISMlink can play in instigating this change. Panel participants will include Juan Jesus Garcia, Senior Advisor Industry Affairs, Amadeus; Gonzalo Die Socias, Head of Tourism and Platform Development, Microsoft Iberica; Marco Pistore, Toolisse; Pedro Seabra, CEO VIATECLA/KeyforTravel; and Claudius Gartner, FSM Initiative Manager, Deutsche Bahn.

The second will focus on destinations, involving National Tourism Boards and local tourism authorities, and will consider the role of ICT in successfully marketing a destination. Participants will include Maximo Buch Torralva, Valencian Minister for Tourism and Eduardo Santander, CEO at the European Travel Commission.

Massimo Baldinato, Member of the Cabinet of the Vice President Antonio Tajani will close the conference. A memorandum of understanding will be signed by the TOURISMlink consortium and the tourism companies and authorities who will take over the running and promotion of the platform.

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