Are cryptocurrencies a service that should be offered in the tourism sector?

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Experts from leading travel tech companies share their views on an emerging market

Our sector is in charge of taking people from A to B and providing them with everything they need from the environment. There is currently a very popular trend that many people around the world are doing right now and to which the tourism sector does not seem to be paying much attention: cryptocurrencies.

Let’s be clear, there is much more crypto-related activity in the travel industry than you might initially believe. Expedia has more than 700,000 hotels available to book via Bitcoin (and 30 other cryptocurrencies), and Pavilion Hotels and Resorts – an APAC-based chain with hotels around the world – began accepting payments in 40 different cryptocurrencies in July this year.

Meanwhile, in the aviation sector, Air Baltic started accepting payments in 2014 and Spanish airline Vueling has recently announced plans to start accepting cryptocurrencies from 2023. Even Bitcoin ATMs are proving popular, having Initially appearing at gas stations and shopping malls in the US, they are now arriving at major airports in Spain as well.

However, it is clear that these are atypical cases. So, is the tourism sector really on the brink of a cryptocurrency revolution? Should your travel company investigate this topic? And what do you have to take into account when it comes to technology and risks?

We interviewed several experts from leading travel technology companies to get their thoughts.

as there is no way to do it currently with crypto – you would pay a deposit, but then when the refund comes the value of that crypto might be different. For all these reasons, and many more, you can believe me, in the next few years we will not see this being anything remarkable, with the exception, perhaps, of a very small number of hotels.”

Matthew Chapman, co-founder and CTO of travel booking technology provider Vibe, comments: “There are some travel companies – and a lot of consumer businesses in general – that are starting to accept crypto, yes. But you have to understand that in Almost all cases are using some kind of intermediary platform to handle the payment, such as Coinbase or BitPay, in other words, they are adding crypto like they would add any other unimportant product.

“The company’s payment platform can add a cryptocurrency to their payment system, which they do not currently accept or operate, such as the South Korean won or the Singapore dollar, and they will almost certainly immediately convert that cryptocurrency into ” fiat currency” (the normal, real, non-digital money we all know and love, to avoid any risk of exchange rate volatility). If you are thinking about this, it is important that you consider that all these payment platforms charge providers a small commission and, of course, there are the necessary implementation resources to do so. There are also tax implications in some jurisdictions, which make an off-account record necessary. Basically you have to ask yourself, Does accepting cryptocurrencies leave better results on the network? Right now probably not, but that could change over time.”

at what price? And what about the technology and internal resources needed to solve the problem? In the end it all comes down to demand: if all customers wanted to pay in Mexican pesos or New Zealand dollars, a way would be found to do so. However, going forward, it looks like the metaverse is going to be an ecosystem where cryptocurrencies will be the standard payment format, so hoteliers should keep that in mind as well.”

but there are signs that it is growing among well-heeled travelers. That said, to date I have not seen any blockchain-based project that solves a real problem for travel industry providers more efficiently than other existing technologies. My opinion is that the hotels that currently accept crypto are doing it more as a PR and marketing exercise than anything else, and quite successfully given that some get a lot of free publicity doing so. This is a topic that we will explore during our conference, as we know that many attendees have questions and doubts about it.” To date I have not seen any blockchain-based project that solves a real problem for travel industry providers more efficiently than other existing technologies. My opinion is that the hotels that currently accept crypto are doing it more as a PR and marketing exercise than anything else, and quite successfully given that some get a lot of free publicity doing so. This is a topic that we will explore during our conference, as we know that many attendees have questions and doubts about it.” To date I have not seen any blockchain-based project that solves a real problem for travel industry providers more efficiently than other existing technologies. My opinion is that the hotels that currently accept crypto are doing it more as a PR and marketing exercise than anything else, and quite successfully given that some get a lot of free publicity doing so. This is a topic that we will explore during our conference, as we know that many attendees have questions and doubts about it.” and quite successfully since some get a lot of free publicity doing it. This is a topic that we will explore during our conference, as we know that many attendees have questions and doubts about it.” and quite successfully since some get a lot of free publicity doing it. This is a topic that we will explore during our conference, as we know that many attendees have questions and doubts about it.”

Maybe it’s time to get ahead of the trend? Regardless of your opinion on the matter, there is another important point to note about cryptocurrencies and travel: the blockchain technology that underpins them will soon be used to power all kinds of travel experiences, particularly loyalty and points programs. , as they are converted -perhaps without the user’s knowledge- into blockchain-based NFTs. In reality, we are only at the beginning, so it is likely that many massive opportunities that we cannot even imagine for travel will arise indirectly as a result of cryptocurrencies.” the blockchain technology that underpins them will soon be used to power all manner of travel experiences, particularly loyalty and points programs, as they are converted—perhaps without the user’s knowledge—into blockchain-based NFTs. In reality, we are only at the beginning, so it is likely that many massive opportunities that we cannot even imagine for travel will arise indirectly as a result of cryptocurrencies.” the blockchain technology that underpins them will soon be used to power all manner of travel experiences, particularly loyalty and points programs, as they are converted—perhaps without the user’s knowledge—into blockchain-based NFTs. In reality, we are only at the beginning, so it is likely that many massive opportunities that we cannot even imagine for travel will arise indirectly as a result of cryptocurrencies.”

Source:  belverapartners.com