Thailand is one of the world’s leading travel destinations. The number of international arrivals per year has grown continuously to reach millions and so has revenue from this sector. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), an agency of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, is turning to technology and take advantage of the growing popularity of digital currencies by creating its own utility token.
The Thai economy has suffered the impact of the pandemic and the government seeks possible innovations to buffer the economic situation. In hopes of reviving the economy, which has been one of the slowest in East Asia and the Pacific, the Thai government recently announced they would waive the quarantine for vaccinated travellers in Bangkok and nine other provinces starting November 1.
Kiattipong Ariapruchya, the World Bank’s senior economist for Thailand, was quoted by media outlets saying, “The Thai economy will likely take longer to recover due to the delay in the return of foreign tourists.”
Interestingly, Thailand is one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to pass digital currency legislation; however, non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are not yet legal.
Cryptourism in Thailand
TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn said, “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.”
Noting the potential that digital currencies have to offer, Yuthasak said there is an opportunity to boost the Thai tourism industry. The TAT has ambitions of partnering with the local digital currency exchange, Bitkub to develop a tourism platform featuring the TAT Coin and possibly non-fungible tokens.
The TAT is also in discussions with the Thailand Stock Exchange regarding its plans to introduce the TAT Coin and how the transfer of value can be done without introducing the speculative aspects of trading.
The TAT coin would involve the transfer of vouchers into digital tokens that could help traders earn more cash, officials said.
The TAT plans on developing a cryptourism atmosphere by offering a bitcoin debit card at airports that digital currency nomads can use during their trips without paying an extra fee at the ATM or money exchange.
The workcation trend also benefits long-stay digital currency nomads who has the flexibility to work anywhere and are considered as big spenders for the tourism industry. Although, the plan for the TAT coin launch will have to navigate through Thailand’s complex legal framework and regulations before it comes to life.
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