Jean-François Cases reveals the ambitions of EONA-X, the data sharing infrastructure for tourism

Excerpts from Julia Luczak-Rougeaux’s interview:

“Created last March (…), the EONA-X association aims to create an infrastructure that would enable all tourism players to share their data and create new sources of revenue. (…) Jean-François Cases, President of EONA-X and Corporate Director of Amadeus and Vice-President & Associate General Counsel, Intangibles, Data Value, R&D, at Amadeus IT Group, answers our questions.


Why did you create the EONA-X association?

EONA-X is part of the European Commission’s strategy for data. The idea is to be able to circulate data in the same way that the European Union has allowed the free movement of people and goods.

Previously, if you wanted to exchange data with a third party, you had to call in lawyers and draw up contracts, before ensuring the auditability of the project. This took months and involved IT specialists who had to agree on a data format.

The EONA-X data space allows any company to plug in and give or receive information. Each company sets its own conditions for sharing, for example by requesting ISO 27001 certification on information systems security or RGPD compliance on data protection. Smart contracts are then created between the entities to frame this exchange. Some members of the association may consider themselves as competitors, but the goal is to get them to work together around the exchange of data. The model is win-win. We are living in difficult but exciting times with climate change, rising energy prices due to scarcity and the new travel desires of the population. Everyone in the tourism industry wants to adapt to these changes and data exchange offers endless possibilities

In concrete terms, what could this data exchange be used for?

We have worked on a use case around multimodal transport. Let’s imagine that a passenger coming from Brussels wants to go to Paris for the Olympic Games. He will take a Thalys or SNCF train. Once there, he will order a VTC to go to the Stade de France to attend a match for which he will have bought a ticket. Then, after spending a night in a hotel, he will go to Marseille and take a shuttle to Notre-Dame de Lagarde. All these steps can be booked at the same place, on a mobile application for example, thanks to the contribution of several tourism companies. Each will be able to build a product or a service according to its target. This application could be dedicated to elderly people or people with reduced mobility for example. It could be proposed by an airline or a travel agency.


Is the tourism sector more open to data sharing?

I think the pandemic has changed the mindset. Every company realized that it had its limits. The pandemic made it possible to understand that by working together, you can bring more resilience to an entire system. It set the record straight, while making us realize that not everything is about the business model. For example, the ecological aspect has come to the fore. Our mission now is to build trust. Many companies are afraid that others will make more money from the data they have shared. I think we need to look beyond that and finally learn to collaborate”.