Thailand Planning to Use Crypto to Help its Tourism Industry
- Before the pandemic, Thailand had over 40 million tourists in 2019, making tourism one of its biggest industries.
- When the pandemic hit, Thailand had only 20,000 monthly tourist arrivals, severely affecting its industry.
- To increase the number of tourists, Thailand is looking into allowing people to pay using cryptocurrency.
Thailand is looking into becoming the latest country to use cryptocurrency to attract tourists. Currently, the tourism industry is working with Thailand's central bank and authority to ensure they are up to date with regulations. In addition, they are looking into investing in cryptocurrency and creating their own digital wallet, which will incentivize crypto holders to visit the Southeast Asia tourist attraction and spend their digital assets on an abundance of amenities.
How Does the Thailand Government Pass Bills?
Thailand’s Prime Minister is Prayut Chan-o-cha, a former army general appointed Prime Minister of Thailand. Although Chan-o-cha is the prime minister, the constitutional monarchy holds power in Thailand to pass bills.
Once the government has accepted the bills, they are then sent to the King to be signed. If the King declines to sign a bill, the Senate looks at the King’s objectives explaining why he chose not to sign the bill.
If the Senate still believes the bill should be passed, a 2/3 vote is required for it to be sent back and signed by the King. If the King still refuses, the Prime Minister steps in and publishes the bill in the government’s official newspaper.
Why Thailand Plans on Using Crypto
According to data released by the tourism ministry, before the COVID-19 pandemic, over 40 million people traveled to Thailand in 2019 and stayed in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and other famous locations. The large number of people who visited brought in over $60 billion worth of revenue for the tourism industry. However, since the pandemic hit, Thailand has had less than one million tourists per year.
The low number of tourists has severely affected the tourism industry and has led authority figures to develop different strategies to increase and revive their tourism industry. The primary plan the Thai authorities agreed upon was using digital currency to purchase goods and services, such as medical care and massages.
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The buying and selling of digital currency to purchase items incentivize those with large sums of crypto holdings to use it. Right now, there are talks between the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bitkub Online Co., the country’s largest crypto exchange, to introduce a coin offering.
Pros of Using Crypto
One main benefit that comes to mind regarding the use of crypto is it helps increase the foot traffic Thailand will receive. Although cryptocurrency is one of the most trending topics in investing today, it is difficult to use it on tangible items and services, such as food, medical services, and paying for other necessities. Therefore, by Thailand offering to allow tourists to use digital currencies as a means of payment, it will enable those who wish to do so to visit.
Another key benefit of using cryptocurrencies is not exchanging currencies when purchasing items abroad. As there is no need to exchange currencies, countries that allow cryptocurrencies to be used as a means of payment put themselves in a good position. For example, the cryptocurrency Thailand receives from their tourists could be used to buy items from other countries without losing purchasing power and making the transaction process smoother.
Although not many countries currently use cryptocurrencies as a payment method, some have started doing so, such as El Salvador. However, other countries such as China do not wish to use cryptocurrencies due to the illicit activities that may arise from them.
Cons of Using Crypto
One peculiar disadvantage of using cryptocurrencies in Thailand is that cryptocurrencies are not recognized as legal tender. Legal tender means they are not recognized as an acceptable form of payment. As a result, although the concept of using digital currencies to increase tourists is a good one, the execution of this could take a while to implement.
Another disadvantage of using cryptocurrencies as a means of payment is the prices fluctuate continuously. As a result, it is difficult to maintain the same prices for a prolonged period as the value of cryptocurrencies will continue to vary.
Where is Thailand Headed?
As mentioned above, with the talks between the SEC and Thailand’s largest crypto exchange, a digital currency and wallet will be made available to the public in the foreseeable future. This implementation is expected to be available sometime in 2022. Hopefully, by then, cryptocurrencies will be labeled and valued as a legal tender, which can commence Thailand’s plans to improve its tourism industry.
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Thailand and other countries that rely heavily on tourism have been negatively affected due to the pandemic. However, with Thailand thinking of implementing cryptocurrency as a payment method, it could help increase the number of tourists who visit in years to come and return their tourism industry to the same level before the pandemic.
What are your thoughts on Thailand potentially using cryptocurrency as a form of payment to attract tourists? Let us know in the comments below.
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