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OpenTravel Alliance Endorses ebXML

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Geneva, Switzerland and Boston, MA, USA; 1 August 2001 -- Industry support for ebXML continues to build as the international travel consortium, OpenTravel Alliance (OTA), announced endorsement of ebXML in its new specification. ebXML, sponsored by UN/CEFACT and OASIS, provides a standard method to exchange messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms and define and register business processes.

OTA released for member review new specifications for requesting availability and booking reservations in the airline and car rental industries. These OTA specifications unite OTA and Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) respective customer profiles into one comprehensive profile. In conjunction with the Travel Technology Initiative, (TTI), based in the United Kingdom, OTA also released draft specifications that provide a message exchange between wholesalers and tour operators for booking holiday package tours. These specifications will utilize the ebXML secure messaging structure as a recommended reference envelope layer that provides OTA specification users with a unified, interoperable solution. OTA's next publication, projected for November 2001, will map the OTA infrastructure to the ebXML Message Handling Service specification, v1.0.

"Industry groups developing their own XML-based specifications can't operate as islands. Cross-industry communication is as important as exchanging messages within a community," explained OTA President Mike Kistner, Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Best Western International. "By recommending ebXML, we ensure that OTA messages adhere to the international standard and enable implementations of OTA specifications to meet the requirements of the global marketplace."

"Endorsement by OTA is a major milestone for ebXML. The travel industry joins other communities who have integrated ebXML, including automotive, information technology, electronic components and semiconductor manufacturing and retail," noted Bill Smith of Sun Microsystems, president of OASIS and member of the ebXML Executive Committee. Smith referenced similar announcements of ebXML support from Covisint, the Global Commerce Initiative (GCI), Open Applications Group and RosettaNet.

About OTA
The OpenTravel Alliance (www.opentravel.org) develops communications specifications to allow for the efficient and effective exchange of travel industry information via the Internet. With over 150 members representing influential names in all sectors of the travel industry, OTA is comprised of representatives from the airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, leisure suppliers, non-suppliers, tour operators, and trade associations. These travel industries, together with an OTA interoperability committee to coordinate their efforts, are developing open Internet-compatible messages using XML data terms.

About ebXML
ebXML, sponsored by UN/CEFACT and OASIS, is a modular suite of specifications that enables enterprises of any size and in any geographical location to conduct business over the Internet. Using ebXML, companies now have a standard method to exchange business messages, conduct trading relationships, communicate data in common terms and define and register business processes.

UN/CEFACT (www.uncefact.org) is the United Nations body whose mandate covers worldwide policy and technical development in the area of trade facilitation and electronic business. Headquartered in Geneva, it has developed and promoted many tools for the facilitation of global business processes including UN/EDIFACT, the international EDI standard. Its current work programme includes such topics as Simpl-edi and Object Oriented EDI and it strongly supports the development and implementation of open, interoperable global standards and specifications for electronic business.

OASIS (http://www.oasis-open.org) is the international, not-for-profit consortium that advances electronic business by promoting open, collaborative development of interoperability specifications. OASIS technical work embraces conformance, security, business transactions, repositories and other interoperability issues.

For more information:
Carol Geyer
Director of Communications

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