Title: VITRO: a flexible and innovative architecture for virtual travel agent information systems

Authors: Nikitas A. Assimakopoulos, Nikolaos K. Dimitriou, Efstathios Sotiriou-Xanthopoulos

Addresses: Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus, 80, Karaoli and Dimitriou St., GR-18534, Piraeus, Greece. ' Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus, 80, Karaoli and Dimitriou St., GR-18534, Piraeus, Greece. ' Department of Informatics, University of Piraeus, 80, Karaoli and Dimitriou St., GR-18534, Piraeus, Greece

Abstract: Travel agents have helped for many decades billions of travellers to organise their trips, increasing in parallel the accessibility to the travel service providers and accelerating the evolution of the tourism industry. Moreover, as the internet applications in everyday life continue to proliferate, a new model of tourism enterprises, known as virtual tourism enterprises, have started to flourish in the tourism industry, the operation of which requires the existence of a flexible virtual travel agent (VTA) information system. However, there are some issues, which are extremely vital for the VTAs involvement in the tourism management system, the most important of which is the flexibility of the VTA architecture. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to define a flexible and innovative architecture of a VTA called VITRO. This architecture is going to serve as a paradigm for the analysis, design and implementation of efficient and flexible VTA information systems, which are going to support the development of virtual tourism enterprises.

Keywords: VITRO; virtual travel agents; information systems; systems architecture; virtual tourism; systems design; systems control; systemic methodology; DCSYM; system dynamics; internet; world wide web; travellers; trips; service providers; travel services; tourism industry; tourism enterprises; flexibility; services technology; services management; model applications; tourism management; tourists.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSTM.2011.038659

International Journal of Services Technology and Management, 2011 Vol.15 No.1/2, pp.4 - 26

Available online: 18 Feb 2011 *

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