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Top global industry conference to tackle future of mobile travel technology

ENTER<.>, the world's leading conference on IT in travel and tourism, has selected Helsinki to host…

ENTER<.>, the world's leading conference on IT in travel and tourism, has selected Helsinki to host its next annual event, which will focus on the future of mobile technology in the travel industry.

The conference – 'Travel on the Move', from 27 January to 1 February 2003 – will bring together over 100 speakers from the major players in the global m-travel revolution to debate how travel providers and tourism bodies can profit from the next generation of mobile applications and other new distribution channels.

In particular, the event will examine mobile technology's ability to meet consumers' growing desire to make bookings and obtain information while on the move. Furthermore, the conference will build on ENTER 2002's theme of multiple-distribution strategies by examining how travel providers can maximise profitability by harnessing new and emerging distribution channels, from the internet to WAP technology.

Technologies under the spotlight at the event include internet access across mobile phones (GPRS); GPS (Global Positioning System) solutions, enabling travel providers to send information to mobile users based on their geographic location, and 3G mobile phones, offering users visually-rich, internet-style content direct to their handset.

According to ENTER's organisers IFITT (International Federation for IT and Travel & Tourism), the world's leading think tank on IT in the global travel and tourism industry, Helsinki's position as the centre of the global mobile technology industry was a key factor behind the organisation's decision to choose the city as its conference venue.

Said IFITT's president Josef G. Margreiter, CEO of the Tirol Werbung Group & Tourist Board: "M-travel is about more than just mobile phones. It goes to the heart of how travel providers will sell in the future. Waiting for the customer to come to you is no longer enough. The travel industry needs to distribute its products and services wherever the traveller is.

"For anyone interested in the future of selling travel, ENTER 2003 is a must-do event."

Said the Finnish Tourist Board's IT development manager Inkeri Starry: "We are honoured to be hosting this prestigious event. Helsinki is the hub of the world's mobile technology revolution, with hundreds of top wireless application companies headquartered here, including Nokia and Benefon.

"The city is also a great place for tourists, with its enchanting architecture, lakes and forests it really is a winter wonderland."

ENTER 2003 will offer delegates from travel and tourism, government and academia a unique chance to cross examine the world's leading m-travel companies on the future of mobile technology at a series of debates and seminars. The conference, which will be chaired by industry heavyweight and IFITT vice president Dimitrios Buhalis, senior lecturer in business information management at the University of Surrey, also features a full social programme and extensive networking opportunities with around 500 top industry participants expected to attend.

IFITT's mission is to enable the travel and tourism sectors to capitalise on breakthroughs in technology by setting the agenda for the development of new information and communication technologies (ICTs).

Headquartered in Innsbruck, Austria, IFITT operates regional chapters in Australasia, North America and Scandinavia, each one dedicated to addressing issues specific to that region.