Consumers, policy makers, and the travel industry need a better understanding of travel distribution, the Association of Retail Travel Agents (ARTA) said as it announced it will lend its support to "Take Travel Forward" (TTF).
TTF is an advocacy group of organizations and individuals who seek to raise awareness in the travel industry, for consumers, and for policy makers to clearly understand the stakes in enhancing, improving and making travel distribution more efficient, cost-effective and accessible, ARTA says. TTF advocates direct connect technology, among other issues.
With a focus on air transportation and related merchandizing and services, TTF (www.taketravelforward.com) aims to highlight the consumer benefits and industry cost-effectiveness of keeping travel distribution robust in a multichannel environment, but not when the costs of participation in any one channel of distribution far exceed the costs of any other channel, ARTA said.
"We've come a long way in improving the relationship between air carriers and travel agents, particularly when the parties sit down and speak directly with each other. Intermediaries can often frustrate the gains made in these open dialogues, and any excessive costs added by middlemen on either the agent or airline side make progress difficult,"said ARTA Managing Director Bruce Bishins.
"With TTF, ARTA wants to make it clear to all stakeholders that improving distribution technology and reducing related costs are not mutually exclusive. We need to let go of the past, accept the realities of the present, and look forward to the future. TTF is a step in the right direction, and we are pleased to be an advocate for this important endeavor", said Bishins.
In addition to its support for TTF, ARTA is an allied member of the Open AXIS Group, an organization which promotes XML standards as the optimal electronic messaging structure for airline system connectivity, including direct connections.