THAILAND PLANS TO START CRYPTO TOURISM
The growth and adoption of crypto is spanning across different countries and sectors of economies. Many have known, for a long time, that the future of money is digital. Many also know that the future of payment is crypto. What many don’t know is that the future of solving economic downturns is blockchain technology and crypto. The mantra, “the future is digital” isn’t just another cliché being thrown around. It is a reality playing right before us.
As different sectors of the economy worldwide seek to recover from the effects of the pandemic, many are searching for novel ways to increase their financial books.
One of such sectors that has found a novel way to solve its financial issues is tourism sector in Thailand.
Thailand’s Tourism sector is turning to crypto to solve the dwindling finances of the sector.
You may be wondering, why is Thailand, one of the leading countries in crypto adoption in South East Asia, doing this? Why cryptotourism?
The answer to that question is multifaceted, but I’ll try to answer as best as I can.
WHY THAILAND IS DELVING INTO CRYPTOTOURISM?
First, Thailand has a sizable number of her citizens who have and use cryptocurrency. About 5.6% of the total population in Thailand has crypto.
That is pretty high.
For a country with a high number of crypto enthusiasts, it is common sense that they do all that they can to grow the crypto community and increase its adoption.
Thailand has never hidden its desire to lead in crypto adoption and usage. While the country hasn’t taken the bold step of making bitcoin or any crypto a legal tender, just like El Salvador did last year, Thailand is continuously looking for novel ways to increase adoption.
And one of such ways is cryptotourism.
I’ll explain what CRYPTOURISM is later.
Thailand also wants to be a crypto-positive country, a safe space for crypto traders, investors and enthusiasts. A place where they (crypto traders and investors) can freely trade their crypto on trading platforms, build crypto centric business and the likes.
The tourism sector in Thailand has suffered immensely because of the pandemic. For an industry that used to have over 40 million tourists every year, having a meagre 106,117 tourists in the first the months of 2021 is worrisome.
After careful analysis of the situation on the ground. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) thought of a solution: Cryptourism.
Crypto Tourism are new and innovative ways that TAT can attract more tourists to the country using cryptocurrency.
One of the innovative ways is for tourists who visit the country to pay in digital currency, a specially designed TAT coin for tourists.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working closely with the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission, Bitkub.co, Thailand’s largest crypto exchange and the Bank of Thailand, to create a digital currency that tourists can pay with TAT coins, Thailand crypto.
The main reason behind this move is so that wealthy digital nomads are attracted to Thailand, and feel comfortable in Thailand since they can now carry out their tourism payment in cryptocurrency.
With over 9.9% of internet users in Thailand owning crypto, the spread of the TAT coin’s (Thailand Crypto) usage is predicted to be fast and effective.
Now, Thailand has recognized the immense wealth distribution that crypto gives, how many people have been brought off the trenches of poverty by crypto. The government is tapping into this wealth spread, and those in other countries, to revive its dwindling economy.
Tourism is one of the country’s big money sectors. The pandemic affected the South east Asian country’s GDP a lot. The government believes that a move like this – introducing digital currency for tourists to pay with – will help boost the Tourism sector in Thailand.
The GDP growth forecast from the National Economic and Social Development Council for 2021 was 1.2%. The projection for 2022 is 3.5 – 4.5%, with hopes that TAT coins become a reality.
There’s enthusiasm from private sectors to see that TAT coin become a reality and is successful, there is still a lot that the Thai government needs to do. A whole lot more.
For one, there needs to be comprehensive rules, regulations and policies on cryptocurrency in Thailand. It is cool to have a digital currency for tourists, but what are the legal frameworks that support or disapprove of this move? What happens if other sectors try to create their own digital currencies? Are there lines of law that TAT coin might have crossed?
Also, aside from the coin, what is the government’s stand on other crypto-related activities? Can people own and trade cryptocurrency on platforms such as Redot.com. Will tourists be taxed on TAT coins or another crypto? Or even fiat currency?
These are some of the pertinent questions and more that need answering before the world and cryptocurrency enthusiasts, traders and investors in Thailand can should Eureka. The legal and regulatory work that still needs to be done is a lot.
Then there is the major issue of the Bank of Thailand (BOT) kicking against accepting crypto for payment of goods and services.
The apex bank in Thailand says that since bitcoin or any cryptocurrency isn’t a legal tender in Thailand, it is illegal for businesses to accept payments in crypto.
And why are they cautious of businesses accepting crypto as payment even when they’re working with Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Bitkub to create TAY coin?
According to Ms Siritida Panomwon Na Ayudha, Assistant Governor of payment Systems Policy and financial technology Group, businesses that accept these cryptocurrencies as payments are exposing themselves to theft, money laundering and Internet fraud.
The concerns are genuine, no doubt, but they show a lack of understanding of blockchain technology and an unwillingness to understand the crypto space.
Still, that doesn’t mean one can’t congratulate Thailand for taking this big move, whether it has come to fruition or not.
Thailand is showing that cryptocurrency is more than just another fancy new technology. The economic impact of crypto is massive, and if utilized well, will bring about economic prosperity for countries.
Whether it is crypto tourism or crypto lifestyle, cryptocurrency is proving to be a solution to many of the world’s economic problems.