Business

Erik Gibbs

Caribbean Tourism Organization pushes for cryptocurrency acceptance

The Caribbean—white sandy beaches, steel drums playing tropical music and margaritas. Sounds like the perfect vacation. That vacation just got a little easier to achieve, as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is working on a plan to have tourist-based businesses accept cryptocurrency payments.

The CTO has teamed up with Bitt Inc., a blockchain company out of Barbados, to create a payment system that will “facilitate the implementation of more efficient payment processes for tourism products and services.” The system is designed to increase cryptocurrency acceptance as a valid payment form by area businesses. The organization is confident that they will receive overwhelming support, and that the majority of the businesses will be all too eager to climb aboard.

CTO Secretary General Hugh Riley told Caribbean News Digital that the region “aims to fully examine the advantages offered by the new financial technology.” He noted that cryptocurrencies, as well as blockchain services, can advance exponentially the tourism sector, and will substantially promote the objectives of certain programs and activities.

Tourism is the main economic provider to the Caribbean nations. Over $50 billion of the area’s gross domestic product comes from tourism each year. In 2017, over 30 million tourists descended on different islands around the Caribbean, a growth rate of 1.7% over 2016. It would have been higher, according to the CTO, if the area hadn’t been hit by two hurricanes in 2017.

Another industry that can benefit greatly from the introduction of cryptocurrency is the import/export industry. The economies of Jamaica and Barbados, the largest of the Caribbean economies, are based primarily on the exchange of goods and services, and have to find ways to fund their endeavors. Since cryptocurrency is truly global by nature, they can facilitate the activities, both internationally as well as at home. This has the promise of reducing losses incurred by poor exchange rates or delays in payments. It will also help to increase the bottom lines of the trading companies.

The Caribbean islands are becoming highly proactive in the cryptocurrency market. The energy being invested by the CTO, coupled with a reported plans to establish an exchange by the government of Antigua and Barbuda, will result in the region becoming not just a tropical vacation hotspot, but a tropical cryptocurrency hotspot, as well.

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