Crypto tourism is a way of traveling in which cryptocurrency is used to pay for some or all parts of travel, including hotel, food, activities, souvenirs, and more.
As the world adjusts to the reopening of economies and industries due to the COVID19 pandemic, the tourism industry appears to be one of the industries most needing a change.
Given the rise in prominence of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Solana, and others over the last few years, there are many people asking how this digital currency could affect tourism.
Even countries themselves are getting in the conversation. Thailand is preparing to open up its tourism industries to cryptocurrency by allowing digital coins to be used in the travel industry. That is the essence of crypto tourism. And the easier it is to use crypto currency while traveling, the more widespread it will become.
The fact that there has been such a large adoption of cryptocurrencies globally makes their eventual entry to industries like tourism logical. That’s exactly why new ideas like crypto tourism are being embraced. Crypto Tourism is a type of tourism where cryptocurrency enthusiasts and investors are catered to through tours to use digital currency to pay for their travels.
Still, with so many different regulations in every country, that adoption is slow to come. The dream is this: a digital currency that doesn’t require onerous transaction fees to convert from one country to another could be used by both cryptocurrency enthusiasts and regular folks to pay for their tours.
In that way, crypto tourism advocates see cryptocurrency as a way to avoid recurring fees like ATM fees and conversion rates. But what excites industry insiders is that these transactions can make payments across the whole industry even simpler.
Tourism is still young in its adoption of crypto currency. As such, we are presenting this guide to share everything you need to know about the growth and development of crypto tourism.
What is Crypto Tourism?
Crypto Tourism is a type of tourism where you can pay for services using digital currencies.
In addition, you can use cryptocurrencies to purchase packaged tours or side attractions. Some packaged tours are organized explicitly for cryptocurrency enthusiasts, including lectures or courses on cryptocurrencies.
Who Participates In Crypto Tourism?
To participate in crypto tourism, one generally needs to have cryptocurrency. Or at the very least, be familiar with how to obtain it. Often, these people are referred to as cryptotourists.
In that way, the most likely participants in this moment are the so-called crypto-rich, the people who invested in various coins early and are now very wealthy. Having already gained millions of dollars and fame through cryptocurrencies, they can take advantage of a coin’s increased value by traveling luxuriously. Still, many regular people are willing to pay for vacations using cryptocurrencies.
Initially, crypto tours were organized to promote an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and attract investors who could make significant investments in cryptocurrency offerings. However, as the COVID19 pandemic fades out and more countries reopen their tourism industries, tourists are more willing than ever to pay for travel using digital coins.
According to Travala.com’s report, 22% of Americans planned to use digital coins to pay for travel in 2021.
Understanding Crypto Tourism
In 2018 and 2019, tourism industries launched a new trend by organizing tours that targeted the blockchain industry. Travel programs like Blockchain cruises, which include luxury travel experiences, lectures, and other amenities dedicated to cryptocurrency enthusiasts, were organized.
Crypto tourism is typically associated with cryptocurrency enthusiasts by its origins. However, it is sometimes defined as a tour service strictly catering to cryptocurrency enthusiasts. That may be because tour packages often include lectures or courses where experts discuss cryptocurrencies.
For these crypto enthusiasts, there are high expectations for themed tours, including courses, panel talks, conferences, and exhibitions on cryptocurrencies. In addition, some tours are organized for opening Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) for new and emerging digital coins.
An example of crypto tourism is the Edinburg Blockchain Cruises by Coins Bank, a crypto-wallet provider based in Scotland. One especially popular cruise was their 2019 Europe 5-day trip on the Mediterranean attended by 2,500 cryptocurrency enthusiasts. It was the last of its kind before the COVID-19 surge that saw the tourism industry and many others come to a halt.
Despite the surge, there has been consistent growth in cryptocurrency industries. As a result, many people globally embrace cryptocurrencies and digital exchanges. In addition, the need to utilize digital coin exchanges can potentially lead travelers to pay for their tours, trips, and amenities using cryptocurrencies once the tourism industry is back to full functionality.
Other Countries That Are Considering Crypto Tourism
Other countries like the Bahamas, Grenada, and Cyprus allow tourists to use digital coins to pay for tours. One of the first nations to embrace crypto tourism was the Bahamas by introducing the Sand Dollar, a digital currency. The country’s regulators are currently encouraging the use of the currency.
While the Sand Dollar is not a crypto currency in the original decentralized sense, the Central Bank of the Bahamas does foresee this digital currency being used in tourism:
“Visitors must become part of the solution, too. The Central Bank foresees a future when Sand Dollar is fully integrated into the Bahamas’ tourism industry, including hotels, taxis, cruise ships, tour operators and attractions. Tourists want the security and convenience of credit cards, Mott said, but often can’t use them outside of large resorts. Sand Dollar will provide a way to transact with independent, locally owned businesses on Family Islands—providing a win-win for tourists and locals.”
This idea would be open to regular individuals, not just the crypto rich, and widespread adoption of a digital currency could also lead to adoption of more traditional cryptocurrencies, too. As it is now, regular individuals interested in digital coins can go for crypto cruises to pay for their vacations using cryptocurrencies and learn more about them.
In addition, some digital currencies like Bitcoin (BTC) can be used to pay for hotels, plane tickets, and meals while on tour in many cases. Sites that accept Bitcoin include Bitcoin Travel, Expedia, Cheap Air, and Destinia, among many others.
Advantages of Crypto Tourism
Embracing digital currency in tourism offers more opportunities for tourists to pay for their trips. When booking decisions often come down to who makes it easier, adding an increasingly popular payment method is a strong move.
Crypto-enthusiasts love going on fun and educational tours to learn more about cryptocurrencies. In addition, the times provide lectures, classes, and teachings about the best ways to navigate and invest in the blockchain industry.
Another advantage of crypto tourism is that the industry can grow. The current participants in crypto tourism are quite a few, but with blockchain paving paths into the travel industries, the possibilities for future growth are endless.
Disadvantages of Crypto Tourism For Tourism Providers
For the time being, cryptocurrencies have been extremely volatile. In March 2020, Bitcoin dropped to around $4,000. At its highest, it’s been over $68,000. This can cause a few problems for tourism providers. While pricing any good or service like a hotel room or 10-day wilderness safari can be pinned to a fiat price, like the US dollar, at the time of purchase, what happens after that?
If a tourism provider keeps the transaction as that cryptocurrency without converting it, they are now susceptible to the highs and lows of the cryptocurrency markets. When the market is good, that could lead to additional cash that could be invested in the business (though businesses would be wise to check with their tax professionals before converting large sums of crypto to their country’s currency).
When the market is hurting, however, having too much of your company’s reserves in crypto could cause you to come up short when it comes time to pay employees, invest in infrastructure, or something else.
Some of the other disadvantages of crypto tourism include using crypto tourism as a marketing tool and crypto tourism being a small market in the tourism industry.
In many cases, crypto tours may be used as a marketing tool to promote ICOs or other low-value offerings to crypto-enthusiasts because of the irregularities in the cryptocurrency market.
Likewise, because crypto tourism is still a small market in the tourism industry, companies can put too much emphasis on the space without seeing many results, especially since tourists generally may be reluctant to pay for their trips using digital currencies.
Which Tourism Businesses Can Benefit From Crypto Tourism
Whether you have a business that’s looking to capitalize on the more niche trend of crypto tourism or you would like to more broadly appeal to those using cryptocurrencies while they travel, there are a number of ways you can move forward.
The strategy you use to approach crypto tourism will depend on the type of travel and tourism business you have.
How Hotels Can Benefit
One of the main advantages for a hotel accepting cryptocurrencies is that it opens them up to the crypto tourist market. If there is a group of travelers who insist on paying with bitcoin, then accepting bitcoin means your hotel becomes a possibility for them.
More importantly, though, it could help to even the playing field against OTAs. Accepting direct bookings in crypto ensures a hotel is getting their payment without a currency exchange and without going through platforms that can charge a sizable percentage of their profits. This requires, of course, the marketing know-how to help reach these tourists.
As mentioned above, the best strategy for a hotel regarding crypto tourism is to treat it like a risky investment. Open up a small number of transactions to it so that you’re protected from the downswings of the market. On the other hand, if the crypto market booms, your hotel will have an influx of funds that you can use to enhance your position in the market, either through additional marketing, investment in the property, or in sharing benefits with your staff.
How Travel Agencies Can Benefit
Travel agencies, especially those operating at the international level, stand to benefit from crypto tourism specifically because of how international their business is. By understanding the crypto tourism market and being able to guide their clients to countries or companies that are willing to accept cryptocurrency, they not only stand to gain business, but they are supporting a growing industry.
Often tourists have questions about where to get cash, currency exchange rates, and overall trip expenses. While there is a risk for a travel agency operating exclusively in crypto currencies, that risk is mitigated if the entire value chain is using crypto currency.
For example, if the agency, airline, hotel,and tour guides all accept crypto currency, then there is the same incentive to support the system and weather any lows in the market.
It is not foolproof and comes with risks. Though coins like Bitcoin fluctuate significantly, their continued existence makes them a safer bet than some of the newer crypto currencies. Starting there and experimenting with a few trial trips to gauge your own risk profile is the best way forward.
How Tour Guides Can Benefit
Tour guides may have the least to gain in the short-term from crypto tourism, especially those who don’t have enough recurring income. When the loss of a day’s pay has a significant impact on one’s family, the volatility of the market may not be worth the risk.
But specifically because of that upside, if a tour guide or tour operator can treat accepting cryptocurrency or working with crypto tourists as an investment, then each of the trips they take can be viewed as a way of hopefully securing a more stable future.
The best bet for the short term is to be familiar with your region and your country’s policy toward crypto currency and crypto tourism. Being conversant with the terminology and seeing where the trends are going could position you to welcome the growing group of crypto tourists in the near future.
Where Crypto Tourism Goes From Here
Before the COVID19 pandemic, crypto tourism was an industry on the rise, with an increasing number of events, offerings, and activities being planned and coordinated all over the world.
In its early days, crypto tourism aimed to bring individuals interested in cryptocurrencies together to connect and promote ICO’s. That contributes to providing investment opportunities by giving participants a chance to make significant investments.
As it becomes more widespread and with many countries reopening their economies and tourism industries, paying with crypto may resume and become more popularly accepted and embraced in the future.