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Thailand bets on crypto millionaires to revive COVID-battered tourism industry

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is aiming to create an easy route for the crypto elites to transact in this asset class in the country, which has already lost revenue close to $80 billion during the pandemic.

November 29, 2021 / 06:04 PM IST
An eatery in Thailand. (Image: Reuters)

An eatery in Thailand. (Image: Reuters)

Eyeing the nouveau-riche crypto millionaires as a means to bring back to life the severely damaged tourism economy, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is collaborating with local cryptocurrency exchanges and companies to develop infrastructure for accepting crypto as a medium of exchange for tourism. 

Per Bloomberg, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn is aiming to create an easy route for the crypto elites to transact in this asset class in the country, which has already lost revenue close to $80 billion during the pandemic. 

“Crypto is the future, so we must make Thailand a crypto-positive society to welcome this group of quality tourists,” Yuthasak said. Notably, an attempt was made to lure in wealthy Japanese crypto holders by the tourism department way back in February, the results of which were underwhelming.

The governor does not expect the tourism levels in the country, which, during the pre-COVID era, were as high as 40 million international travellers per year, to return to normalcy until 2024. However, in an attempt to further his idea of crypto-tourism, the TAT is contemplating launching its own TAT coin. While the infrastructure is ready, it still awaits government approval. 

When it comes to the popular acceptance of crypto in Thailand, most financial regulators and the government do not take to it positively, with digital assets not considered legal tender in the country. In fact, in July 2021, the country’s anti-money laundering office mandated the physical identity verification of new customers by crypto exchanges.
Ira Puranik
first published: Nov 29, 2021 06:04 pm
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