The Tourism Authority of Thailand may soon launch its own cryptocurrency for visitors to the country. Thai tourism authorities plan to call it TAT Coin.
This plan leads to questions about why the TAT is not focusing on well-established cryptocurrencies. Many people are interested in this potential move, particularly in light of Thailand’s recent ban on non-fungible tokens.
Thailand’s SEC banned these tokens because of a growing belief that unregulated NFTs could bring economic instability. Some cryptocurrencies, like Dogecoin, even started as jokes.
According to Yuthasak Supasorn, the governor of the TAT, tourism authorities are in communication with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand. Both organizations would need to work together to create and regulate TAT Coin.
Despite the SEC’s ban of NFTs, authorities at the TAT recognize that cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular among tourists. Entirely rejecting cryptocurrencies could be financially unwise.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tourism was one of Thailand’s most profitable industries. Leaders at the TAT wish to revive it.
Making tourism easy and appealing for cryptocurrency users is just one potential solution. Supasorn has conveyed a forward-thinking philosophy, stating that the country’s tourism industry must embrace digital literacy and digital infrastructure.
If it does not, it could be left behind: Many legitimate businesses already accept certain cryptocurrencies, and a tourism industry that moves early to do the same could reap tremendous rewards.
TAT Coin would require transferring vouchers into digital tokens, which authorities in Thailand believe might lessen the speculative nature of other cryptocurrencies.
It remains to be seen whether TAT Coin would entice potential visitors.
Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, very few tourists visited Thailand in the past year. This pause in tourism caused an economic hit to the country.
39.8 million foreign tourists visited Thailand in 2019. In 2020, that number dropped to 6.7 million tourists, almost all of whom visited during the first quarter of the year — before countries worldwide recognized COVID-19 as an international threat.
Recently, however, Thailand has been lifting COVID-19 restrictions. For instance, the country now allows fully vaccinated tourists to skip quarantine upon entering the country.