Initially at the request of AMTRAK (American Railways), the UIC Technical group established contacts with OTA (Open Travel Alliance).
OTA is a U.S. based not-for-profit trade association, founded in 1999 by travel companies, with a primary focus on the creation of standard XML messages to facilitate communication between the disparate systems in the global travel industry. It has member companies representing the airlines, hotels, distribution service providers and travels industries, etc.
Those contacts have recently led to a Memorandum of Understanding being signed between UIC and OTA.
The MoU defines the reciprocal right to take part in each other’s working groups.
Concretely, UIC is now participating in a 10-month collaborative project together with, among others, the Chinese Railways and AMTRAK, which will define a set of generic electronic messages (XML schemas) that are closely aligned with common rail industry business functionality, especially for reservation and booking processes.
UIC’s interest in this cooperation is to have its own XML messages become a worldwide standard, given that the current OTA’s catalogue is well developed for other transport modes, but not for rail.