In search of ways to heal its travel industry, hurt by the pandemic, Thailand is now recognizing an opportunity to tap into a growing market of cryptocurrency holders. Fostering a “cryptourism atmosphere” is what the country’s tourism agency intends to do, including by minting a new token and facilitating bitcoin card payments.
Tourism Board of Thailand Plans to Employ New Coin to Spur Demand From Crypto Market
Pondering how to capitalize on the expanding global crypto user base, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has pitched the idea of issuing its own utility token dubbed TAT Coin. The Bangkok Post revealed on Wednesday that the body wants to examine relevant regulations and the viability of such a project before embarking on the initiative.
The state-run agency is now holding talks with the Stock Exchange of Thailand on the possible introduction of the token, the report details, quoting TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn. TAT Coin would allow the transfer of travel vouchers into digital tokens that could help operators to gain greater liquidity, the newspaper added, without being a subject of speculative trading.
Another aspect that has to be clarified is whether the tourism board has the authority to issue a digital currency in the first place. In any case, Yuthasak emphasized that technology is changing the world and cryptocurrency is part of that process. In his opinion, TAT has to take the chance and enhance the competitiveness of Thailand’s tourism sector which was greatly affected by the spread of Covid-19. The official further elaborated:
We have to prepare digital infrastructure and digital literacy for our tourism operators in order to commence cryptourism as the traditional business model might not be able to keep up with the new changes.
TAT’s short-term goal is to increase income in the industry by attracting potential travelers and visitors. The long-term plan, according to the report, is to upgrade the nation’s business and leisure tourism platform in cooperation with Bitkub, a local cryptocurrency exchange.
The authority hopes to use the future TAT Coin, or a non-fungible token (NFT), to encourage demand from the cryptocurrency market and increase traffic at specific tourist spots. Bitkub CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa has been quoted noting that the global crypto market capitalization is now four times larger than Thailand’s gross domestic product (GDP).
As part of its initiative to create a “cryptourism atmosphere,” the Tourism Authority of Thailand also considers offering bitcoin debit card services at the country’s airports. Crypto nomads, the agency says, can use these cards during their trips to make purchases without having to pay high fees at ATMs or money exchange shops. In August, Bank of Thailand announced it’s going to test its own digital currency which can potentially facilitate payments in the travel industry as well.
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