Thailand is betting on crypto to spur tourism

The country wants more wealthy tourists. Who better to fit the bill than beach-loving nomadic crypto-millionaires?

Zachary Crockett / The Hustle

For Thailand, tourism accounted for 20%+ of pre-pandemic annual GDP. In 2019, the country drew ~40m travelers who collectively generated $60B+ in revenue.

But through the first 10 months of 2021, Thailand saw just 106k tourists, and it’s lost out on $80B in revenue throughout the pandemic so far.

So after more than a year without minimal visitors, it makes sense the country’s getting creative trying to recoup some of that cash.

To do that, Thailand is betting on crypto.

The country wants to make more money, but that’s hard to do in a world with fewer travelers. So instead, it’s shifting its focus to high-spending tourists.

And who better to fit the bill for wealthy beach-loving nomads than crypto-millionaires, of which there are now 100k+?

What’s the plan?

Thailand’s Tourism Authority is now working with the SEC, the Bank of Thailand, and the country’s largest crypto exchange to lay the groundwork for a local crypto-tourism ecosystem.

“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,” tourism chief Yuthasak Supasorn has said.

Yuthasak also noted that Thailand can achieve these goals better by getting crypto holders like Russell Crowe to visit.

You know the saying. “If you build it get Russell Crowe, they will come.”

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