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OpenTravel Alliance, the not-for-profit organization responsible for developing and maintaining interoperability for disparate systems in all verticals of the travel industry, and the International Inbound Travel Association, the national nonprofit trade association representing the United States' international inbound travel industry, have announced a strategic partnership.

The announcement was made public at IITA's recent 2020 Summit in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The partnership provides new collaboration opportunities between the organizations and member companies, including the ability to participate in respective educational events and workgroups. Both organizations share the goal of improving travel interoperability and this partnership exposes key influencers for U.S. inbound travel to OpenTravel standards that will ultimately improve bookings and business.

"We're committed to providing our members with new benefits that are specific to inbound travel, including advancing technology with the inbound operator's business needs in mind," said Lisa Simon, Executive Director, IITA. "The OpenTravel Alliance is the authority on travel data standards, and by providing open-source specifications, OpenTravel provides a level playing field for seamless connectivity throughout the travel distribution system."

OpenTravel standards are the foundation for tens of thousands of messages on a daily basis, enabling companies from various travel industry verticals—including air, hotel, car, rail, et cetera—to interact seamlessly, allowing consumer direct bookings.

"IITA has been leading conversations about issues critical to inbound operators and the industry that have resulted in greater collaboration and best practices," said Gary Schluter, IITA Chair and founder, Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours. "How technology is driving change in the distribution system has been at the top of the list and this partnership provides a key opportunity to highlight the solutions-oriented nature of OpenTravel to tour operators, DMOs and suppliers."

In an education series during IITA's 2020 Summit, Jeff ErnstFriedman, OpenTravel Managing Director, presented on "How Connectivity is Reshaping Travel Distribution" and shared details on the role data standards play in opening up business opportunities.

"It is clear that there is an appetite to understand and leverage technology to meet the needs of a changing industry," ErnstFriedman said. "By adopting and collaborating on open standards, the industry can compete on providing enhanced customer experiences and find efficiencies by collaborating on the underlining infrastructure."

"IITA champions a unique perspective of the 80 million travelers coming to the United States," said Susanne Auinger, OpenTravel Alliance Chair. "OpenTravel is excited to be more closely involved, working to improve interoperability and expand the travel ecosystem for those seeking to explore the US."

Courtesy of Groups Today.

Photo courtesy of OpenTravel Alliance and International Inbound Travel Association.

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