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Thailand Aims to Target Crypto Tourists to Revive Industry

Published: February 22, 2021 at 7:10 am


Thailand continues to explore new avenues through which it can attract wealthy tourists to go on a long-stay holiday in the country, as it tries to revive its ailing tourism-reliant economy in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Because of this, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is planning to target Japanese tourists with holdings in cryptocurrency, particularly Bitcoin, in the initial phase of its plan.

According to TAT, it arrived at this decision after discussing ideas with the Technology Promotion Association (Thailand-Japan). During the discussion, the agency decided that the cryptocurrency market has experienced significant growth in the previous years and would be the ideal target for its tourism revival project.

Among other countries in the world, the Japanese have the largest holdings in Bitcoin. 11% of its population own Bitcoin, or fragments of it, by 2018, said Dalia Research. Both Germany and the US, by comparison, had only 9% of their citizens owning Bitcoin.

The global average of Bitcoin ownership is at 7%.

“If we can prepare the country for the cryptocurrency market, it will help attract more opportunities from high-spending tourists, especially the young and wealthy generations,” TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said.

One of its current actions is conducting a feasibility study on using digital currency as a mode of payment for tourist destinations. The agency is also holding talks with the Bank of Thailand as well as businesses in the tourism sector regarding long-term plans for the industry, and the new practices that will come with it.

Governor Yuthasak said that they have to ensure first that the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the new tourism must first comply with the Bank of Thailand’s regulations. He also said that they have to make sure that no money laundering is accomplished in the country using cryptocurrency.

With these potential measures, Mr. Yuthasak that even Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, might even want to visit Thailand.

Elon Musk had attracted the attention of cryptocurrency supporters after he made an investment in Bitcoin through his company, Tesla Inc., to the tune of US$1.5 billion.

Musk’s support for the cryptocurrency had helped push Bitcoin’s price, breaking the US$53,000 barrier and valuing up to US$56,000 as of Friday. The data provider Coinmarketcap.com said that the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation is now more than US$1 trillion.

Governor Yuthasak said that his agency is only expected 8 million tourists this year, down from the previous 10 million goal that it has specified.

The TAT’s projections for tourist arrivals are higher than most agencies of the government. The National Economic and Social Development Council announced on Tuesday that they are expecting only 3.2 million tourist arrivals for this year.

The tourism industry is at the mercy of several factors, most of which are beyond any agency’s control. These include local sentiment, restrictions on travel to and from other countries, local travel restrictions and the pace of the current vaccine roll-out.

Even so, the TAT plans to launch a sales campaign after April targeting international tourists.


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