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Created: May 25, 2001.
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New OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) Specification Supports Cross-Industry Availability and Booking Capabilities.

More than 140 leaders representing all aspects of the travel industry recently met for an OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) Advisory Forum and approved the release of a new draft customer profile specification. Version 2001A of the OpenTravel Alliance Message Specifications document "merges the OTA and Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) respective customer profiles into one comprehensive profile to expedite the imminent adoption of this new OTA specification. The Version 2001A public release also includes a major infrastructure change that incorporates emerging Extensible Markup Language (XML) capabilities: it adopts a portion of the messaging structure developed by the Electronic Business XML (ebXML) Transport, Routing and Packaging project team. Version 2001B has also been released for member review; it includes the complete set of revised HITIS standards for the hotel industry coupled with availability and booking specifications to serve airline, car rental, package holidays from consumer to supplier, and travel insurance industries. The OTA specifications now include the principal specification document, W3C XML Schema and schema fragments conforming to the W3C Candidate Recommendation, XML DTDs, UML Model diagrams, and a data dictionary. The OTA's five working groups, together with an interoperability committee to coordinate their efforts, are developing open Internet-compatible messages using XML data terms: air, car, hotel, leisure supplier, and non-supplier."

OpenTravel Alliance Message Specifications abstract: "This document presents the specifications for the exchange of messages in the travel industry, covering airlines, car rentals, hotels, and other travel services. It uses the Extensible Markup Language (XML) for the exchange of these messages transmitted under Internet protocols. Part I of this document describes the base technical architecture used by the OpenTravel Alliance for message exchanges, including transport protocols, identification and connections to trading partners, security and privacy, and infrastructure required to identify the message content and route it to the proper application handler. Part II of this document addresses the travel business content and exchanges of a customer profile, and identifies the message sets supported by this publication."

Summary: "The OpenTravel Alliance Message Specification, Publication 2001A (OTA Version 2) is a revision of the OTA version 1 Customer Profile Specification. The catalyst for this revision came from the agreement for cooperation and collaboration between two Standards Developer Organizations (SDOs), the OpenTravel Alliance (OTA) and the Hospitality Industry Technology Integration Standards (HITIS) project sponsored by the American Hotel & Motel Association, (AH&MA). Bringing the two groups together has enabled this specification to profit from the best of both organizations, building upon their collective experience in the hospitality and travel industries. This specification also benefits from the work of other standards developer organizations; specifically, the ebXML initiative sponsored by UN/CEFACT and OASIS (, and the work of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and their advancement of XML Schema to Candidate Recommendation status (2000-10-24). This document is separated into two parts: OTA Infrastructure and the revised Profile Specification, which is the first of the business content specifications that OTA intends to develop."

From the announcement:

To assist programmers with implementation, OTA specifications now consist of the following components:

  • Specification Document, which contains traditional specification information: user license, acknowledgements, introduction and explanations of the business content of the specification.
  • XML Schema and Schema Fragments in conformance with the W3C Candidate Recommendation. Schema fragments define the individual modular pieces of a specification for reusability, and the schema at the message level defines the entire specification for that message.
  • Document Type Definition (DTD), which supports implementations that rely on parsers for validation and have not yet moved to accommodate validation of XML schema.
  • UML Model, which models data relationships, elements and attributes and their descriptions in a Rational Rose format.
  • Data Dictionary, which is an alphabetical list of the elements and attributes defined in the specification, showing parent class, cardinality and relationships to other elements.
  • Appendices, which list references to other standards used in OTA specifications and a history of revisions.

Principal references:

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