Thailand is laying the groundwork to become a “crypto-positive society” with the aim to attract crypto holders and boost its tourism industry. The country hopes to gain back some of the $80 billion in lost tourism revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent shutdown.
Thailand Plans to Attract Crypto Holders
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is working with the country’s regulators to make it easier and more convenient for visitors to spend cryptocurrencies in the country, Bloomberg reported Saturday citing TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn.
The governor detailed, “There are people who have become wealthy from holding digital currencies and they may want to use the wealth they have accrued,” elaborating:
If they can use their currencies here without having to exchange it, or be faced with government taxes, then it would create convenience for them.
He explained that the Thai tourism authority is laying the groundwork for the wider acceptance of cryptocurrencies, which it plans to have in place by the time global travel returns to normal.
The plan is already being discussed with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Bank of Thailand (BOT), and Bitkub Online Co., the largest crypto exchange in the country, the governor revealed.
Furthermore, the authority will set up a new unit next year to handle the issuance of its own crypto tokens, produce a wallet, and build a new tourism ecosystem, he added. Thailand currently does not recognize cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ether, as legal tender.
The Thai tourism authority aims to recoup some of the $80 billion in lost revenue due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, Thailand attracted almost 40 million foreign travelers, generating more than $60 billion in revenue.
However, the country shut down its borders for more than a year due to the pandemic. It recently opened its borders to vaccinated travelers.
Yuthasak suggested that Thailand could recoup about 80% of its pre-pandemic tourism revenue in 2023 with only half the number of foreign tourists in 2019 “by getting someone like Russell Crowe or a crypto holder like Tim Cook to travel here.”
He expects Thailand’s tourism industry to return to pre-Covid levels by 2024, adding that the country is targeting about 1 million high-spending tourists in the first quarter of next year. Meanwhile, the authority hopes that 10% of crypto holders will eventually travel to Thailand.
The TAT governor opined:
Crypto is the future, so we must make Thailand a crypto-positive society to welcome this group of quality tourists.