12/05/2021

THAILAND DAILY

NEWSPAPER / MAGAZINE / PUBLISHER

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Thailand to reopen to ‘big fish’ tourists as a cryptocurrency friendly haven says promotion agency boss

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor, Yuthasak Supasorn, was speaking after a meeting with a technology association promoting closer ties between the kingdom and Japan. He outlined a vision of the country becoming a playground for the likes of high rollers such as Elon Musk, one of the world’s foremost and wealthiest technology entrepreneurs.

Thailand’s top tourism executive has announced a plan to make the kingdom cryptocurrency-friendly to ‘big fish’ tourists as the country still plots to adapt the industry to a new high tech, high net worth future.

wealthy-tourists-cryptocurrency-friendly-haven
Tourism Authority of Thailand Chief, Yuthasak Supasorn, has outlined a vision of Thailand as a cryptocurrency haven for wealthy tourists who can spend the new digital currencies here within the hospitality sector. All this, of course, only applies to a post-pandemic world.

The Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced that the country, in the post-pandemic era, will be focusing its marketing to foreign tourists on the ‘the big fish in the market’ as he outlined plans for the state agency to promote Thailand as a country where foreign visitors can easily spend cryptocurrency holdings.

Currently, Thailand’s borders are effectively closed to tourists from foreign countries with onerous entry requirements which saw the country lose 99.83% of its once-thriving foreign tourism market in the last eight months of 2020 due to Covid-19 measures to protect the kingdom’s population.

Prospects of reopening in 2021 dwindling

Since then, the prospects for reopening to this market, which previously earned it ฿2 trillion a year, are dwindling for 2021.

Last week, Mr Yuthasak had his eyes set firmly on the future and revealed the kingdom may be a target destination for pioneer businessmen such as Elon Musk, the man behind Paypal, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. 

Thailand targeting the likes of Elon Musk

He told reporters that Mr Musk and people like him will be more interested in visiting Thailand if they can spend their money using the new digital currencies.

Mr Musk recently invested $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency and allowed the use of bitcoin for Tesla customers.

New high-tech vision of Thai tourism

The TAT governor credited his latest initiative to transform Thailand’s foreign tourism sector to a high tech vision after consultations with the Technology Promotion Association (Thailand-Japan) where he learned cryptocurrency was rapidly being taken up by the Japanese public especially among the young.

Japan currently owns 11% of the world’s cryptocurrency holdings.

It comes as the value of bitcoin continues to soar and is now worth ฿1,694,719 or over $56,500.

Must liaise with the Thai hospitality sector already facing a crisis and possible death spiral

Mr Yuthasak explained the practicalities behind his latest move and the benefits.

‘If this idea is successful, Thailand will be one of the countries where cryptocurrency can be spent in the tourism sector,’ he disclosed.

He explained his agency will be reaching out to the Thai hotel and restaurant sector to brief them and prepare them to accept cryptocurrency payments.

The problem is, in the last few days, key leaders within the foreign tourism sector such as the President of the Thai Hotels Association, Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi have been ringing alarm bells about a possible death spiral for a large number of business concerns that have run out of time because the country, effectively remains closed to its traditional tourist market, two to three-week holidaymakers seeking sunshine and fun.

Industry and central bank warn foreign tourism must return to avert collapse

The industry representative estimated 50% of Thai hotels are now closed amid heightened concerns within financial circles of an avalanche of property foreclosures looming.

Governor, acknowledging the dark side of cryptocurrencies, to consult with the central bank

The TAT boss acknowledged that there were some concerns about cryptocurrency use, an issue high on the radar of the Royal Thai Police in recent months who have linked it with criminal activity such as drug dealing and online fraud.

He also accepted the matter must be discussed with the Bank of Thailand. 

Japan and Thailand leading the way

Mr Yuthasak outlined how the Japanese hospitality sector has already adapted to the use of cryptocurrency with some new business even building their names on the new trend.

Cryptocurrency trading and holdings have also become increasingly popular in Thailand among urban professionals and young people. 

The country’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, Bitkub, in January, reported daily trading volumes as high as ฿6 billion.

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Further reading:

Industry leaders and central bank all warn that foreign tourism must return to avoid a collapse

Refloat of foreign tourism in the 2nd half of 2021 with vaccines pushed by minister and industry for the sector

Fact – only 6,556 visitors arrived in Thailand last month compared to 3.95 million in December 2019

Desperate foreign tourism business concerns are clinging to straws as they try to survive the crisis

Strict entry criteria to remain as officials await clarity on the medical status of vaccinated people

Challenge of the virus and closure to tourism leads to major long term changes in the Thai economy

Finance Minister says economy must pivot away from tourism with a switch to S-Curve industries

Steady as she goes economy driven by exports and public investment with a 3.3% growth rate forecast for 2021

Thailand’s tourism boss targets thousands instead of millions as public health is prioritised above all

Thailand unlikely to reopen doors to mass-market tourism before the end of 2021 until after a full vaccination

Strengthening baht predicted as investors bet on a reopening of Thailand to mass tourism in 2021

World’s biggest free trade deal just signed will be a huge boost for the Thai economy and exports

US move against Thailand on trade is a warning as Thai exports to America boomed in September by over 19%

Thailand’s trade agenda may be complicated and thwarted by raised tensions in the Indo Pacific region

RCEP deal agreed as India opts out – busy Bangkok ASEAN summit concludes on a low key

Industry boss urges Thailand to join alternative Pacific trade pact and plan for a long recovery from virus debacle

Chinese FM to visit Thailand in a Covid battered world of raised tensions and potential conflict

Lowering of US flag in Chengdu is a wake-up call for foreigners living in Thailand and with close ties here

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Thailand’s economy has become dependent on government expenditure to stay above water

Industry boss urges Thailand to join alternative Pacific trade pact and plan for a long recovery from virus debacle

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About the Author

Carla Boonkong is a magazine writer who writes extensively about woman’s issues in Thailand. One of her key subjects is the story of Thailand’s growing influence in the world and the role played by Thai women in the process. She is now a staff writer with Thai Examiner.com in Bangkok. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.

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