In its latest effort to revive Thailand’s pandemic tourism industry, the Thai Tourism Authority is targeting cryptocurrency holders in Japan.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) wants to make the country the first to do its best to welcome holders of cryptocurrencies, especially from Japan, which they consider a regional hub for cryptocurrency activities. Authorities have conducted a feasibility study for implementing destination cryptocurrency payments.
Thailand has been hunting down wealthy tourists since the industry collapsed in the first quarter of 2020 when Asian countries began closing borders in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
According to the Bangkok Post, TAT Governor Yutasak Supasorn said cryptocurrency could be the key to luring the biggest players:
“If we can prepare the country for the cryptocurrency market, it will help attract more opportunities for high-consumption tourists, especially the younger and wealthy generations.”
He added that the use of the cryptocurrency should be in accordance with central bank regulations and measures must be put in place to prevent money laundering.
Authorities are citing data from three years ago for Japan, where ownership of the cryptocurrency is 11%, but the latest data for 2020 from Statista shows that is closer to 4%.
Mr Yutasak even suggested that Elon Musk might want to visit the kingdom as the company has recently invested heavily in Bitcoin.
“Even Elon Musk, Tesla founder and cryptocurrency influencer, might be interested in visiting Thailand,”
While Thailand has been relatively open to cryptocurrency trading and has a number of exchanges such as Bitkub and Upbit that were recently launched, there are very few places in the country that actually accept digital currencies as a method of payment.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Tourism recorded nearly 40 million tourism receipts annually. That number decreased, shrinking a once-thriving industry as the country was largely closed to foreigners. TAT reduced the number of targeted foreign arrivals to 8 million.