In an effort to curtail the spread of Covid-19 and save lives, almost every government across the world with a few exceptions has long since closed down their borders to overseas travelers and restricted the movement of their own citizenry to flatten the curve which has had a devastating economic knock on effect on the global travel and tourism industry.
And as such, many small to mid-sized companies within this industry have already either gone or are on the verge of going bankrupt as they’ve seen their revenues plummet whilst their expenses continue to pile up unabated with little to no immediate end in sight barring the panacea of mass vaccinations which is still far off on the horizon. Sadly the inevitable mass unemployment and widespread economic misery that ensues as a direct result of these mass shutdowns in response to the disease can be far worse than the cure.
Irrespective of who is ultimately right or wrong in this debate really doesn’t matter as peoples personal priorities have already shifted away from overseas holidays, which are fast becoming a thing of the past for the average Joe and Jane, whose priorities have now shifted more towards simply paying the rent or mortgage and putting food on the table. And as such, the Thai tourism sector has been equally hard hit with foreign visitor numbers and hotel occupancy rates now being at all time record lows. Thankfully not everyone has been so adversely impacted by the economic fall-out of Covid-19. One notable exception being the holders of cryptocurrencies who’ve seen their personal net wealth grow substantially over the past few months and years at an almost exponential rate.
The biggest problem that most cryptocurrency holders have is not a lack of cash, but rather a lack of ways to spend their cash as the worldwide mass acceptance of crypto particularly within the travel, leisure and tourism industry has been tepid at best, as many operators still prefer to accept more traditional methods of payment such as unbacked fiat currency or by debit or credit card payments partly due to the volatility of crypto.
Fortunately theTourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recognized this lack of mass acceptance of crypto, and seeks to pro-actively capitalize on this opportunity by turning Thailand into a more crypto friendly country. According to a recent article on the Thai Visa forum, Mr. Yuthasak whom, I believe is a representative of the TAT has purportedly held talks with the
Thailand-Japan Technology Promotion Association, in a bid to attract Japanese nationals who on average hold the largest amount of Bitcoin and Ethereum (which are the largest two cryptocurrencies by overall market cap) than any other nation across the entire globe in an effort to entice them to spend their crypto in Thailand. Mr. Yuthasak has already started to hold talks with many hotel and restaurant chain stakeholders, to actively encourage and convince them to accept crypto under the watchful eye of the both the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who will make sure that all of the necessary anti-money laundering measures are in place beforehand.
The long-term goal of the TAT is to attract young, rich tourists (and more especially those with crypto) with high-levels of purchasing power to increase their spending rate per capita each and every time they come to Thailand. One hopes that over time this measure of encouraging widespread acceptance of crypto as put forth by Mr. Yuthasak will gain the support and co-operation of the Thai Government, and in so doing act as a catalyst to help speed up the turnaround of a much beleaguered tourism sector in the post Covid-19 era when things slowly start to improve.