Tourism Exchange Australia Attacked as ‘Socialisation of Tourism’

By Martin Kelly, Travel Trends

Andrew Burnes, Chairman of AOT Group and Deputy Chairman of Tourism Australia, has attacked as “socialisation of tourism” the new direction taken by the government-funded Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW).

ATDW, which until now has provided only content to partners, recently signed a controversial agreement with tech provider V3 to set up Tourism Exchange Australia.

Tourism Exchange Australia will sell products source from ATDW members and is scheduled to go live within the next three months.

“Government should just get out the way,” said Burnes.

However, Burnes operates Sunlover Holidays and NSW Holidays under licence from the Queensland NSW Governments through AOT Group, which also owns numerous other online and offline travel businesses.

When questioned on this apparent contradiction, Burnes claimed the NSW and Queensland arrangements were “different” and therefore not comparable.

Burnes also told delegates at ATEC’s Tourism Directions conference: “I don’t very much agree with the socialisation of tourism which began with the ATDW, and I say that with my AOT hat on.”

Jeff Floyd, Chief Executive Officer of AAA Tourism, the national tourism body of Australia’s auto clubs, agreed. “I share your concern,” Floyd told Burnes.

Liz Ward, General Manager of ATDW, strongly rejected the line pushed by Burnes and said Tourism Exchange Australia did not represent any kind of commercial threat.
 
According to the official release, “TXA is an open booking exchange that incorporates inventory and pricing from multiple booking systems and then distributes it widely to various websites.”

“TXA will connect both the ATDW and V3 Travel systems and services to deliver online, bookable Australian tourism products to consumers via ATDW’s licensed distributors.

It “is an open booking exchange that incorporates inventory and pricing from multiple booking systems and then distributes it widely to various websites.

“ATDW will continue in its current role in providing high quality content and images for publishing on licensed distributor websites.”

Travel Trends: December 17, 2007

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