Have you ever wondered about the possibility of travelling cashless? Keeping aside digital payment applications such as Paytm and GPay, is there any other way to access your digital assets? In this article, we discuss yet another mode of digital payment called cryptocurrency. Fundamentally, cryptocurrencies are censorship-resistant digital currencies that are available to every user to access with the internet across the globe.
Cryptocurrency has also been a useful asset for international travellers and could also be used as a digital currency in India as well. The consistent travelling through cryptocurrency led to the coining of the term, ‘crypto tourism’
Being one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world, the travel industry partnered up with cryptocurrency to give rise to ‘crypto tourism.’ It is a form of tourism that offers packaged travel tours to investors and cryptocurrency fanatics that are paid in digital currencies. Although the pandemic had a devastating impact on the travel industry, travel & tourism never really took a pause.
There have been many examples of travel agencies and airfare websites that have joined the bandwagon of accepting cryptocurrency. Being a modern way to plan and book trips, airfare websites like Cheapair.com, a Latvian carried Air Baltic, and Berlin-based travel booking website GetYourGuide, etc. Another blockchain-based platform for hotel bookings, Travala.com that covers more than 5,00,000 properties across the globe.
Cryptocurrencies have been a trend to stay in the news for a long time. Although not widely popular, it has progressively entered the mainstream lexicon. Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and others are non-state sanctioned forms of currency that are created using blockchains. Since the appearance of Bitcoin in 2009 as a decentralized digital currency, a handful of travel booking companies have stepped forward to accept it as a form of payment.
Online travel agency CheapAir began accepting this form of payment in 2013. Initially, the company used a third-party processor to convert Bitcoins into a physical payment that could be paid to airlines and hotels, but eventually, they made their technology for Bitcoin to manage the exchange.
Wondering What Blockchains Are?
A system where the record of transactions of bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency is maintained across several computers linked in a peer-to-peer network is known as a blockchain. Online travel agency Expedia had also started accepting bitcoin, a type of cryptocurrency up until 2018. Although they stopped directly accepting bitcoin, several hotels and accommodations under Expedia still allowed crypto-friendly bookings through Travala.com. Even countries like New Zealand and the Bahamas advertise their use of cryptocurrency in their marketing targeting tourists.
Over the years, the appearance of blockchain technology has caused a zeal of interest to transform the way we store and use data. Blockchain technology guarantees to improve transparency and make secure transactions as well. This technology makes the tourism industry wish to adapt and experiment with it.
Suppose person A wants to send money to a person named B. The transaction is then represented online as a block that is accessible to every member of the network. When the network confirms the block as valid, then the block gets added to the chain. The chain maintains a record of the transaction. And this is how B receives money from A.
- Winding Tree: Has booking through major travel agency aggregators cost you hefty fees and surcharges? The blockchain-based company, Winding Tree aims to connect travellers directly with service providers like airlines, hotels, etc. The company assures that there are no middlemen involved during the booking process.
- Sand block: The key factor of any travel company is to retain their customers through the use of a loyalty program. Sandblock aims to change the loyalty program with its blockchain-based platform by allowing users to create their loyalty tokens, which can be exchanged for rewards.
- Accenture: In collaboration with the World Economic Forum, the company has introduced the Traveler Digital Identity System. With the collection of frequent traveller’s information, the blockchain enables a free flow of data between travellers and agents to ease the identification and clearance process.
Imagine a world in which your luggage never gets lost, or do you have to wait for travel portals’ travel tokens to materialize, or make movement through the airport faster with a faster mode of identification? The reason why cryptocurrency has become a favourite amongst travellers wishing to travel on a budget is because of its many advantages. Being a secure payment method, it helps in avoiding additional costs such as currency conversion, ATM transaction fees and even fraud risks that are a part and parcel of international credit card use.
Take an example of the corporate world which looks for secure payment methods so that they are protected against miss-spendings or travel accounting mismanagements or even identity theft. With the acceptance of cryptocurrency universally, it is safe to say that we would be provided with a payment mode that is safe to use, simple to transfer, and greater security for sensitive data.
The acceptance of cryptocurrency has become easier since banks have accepted to exchange these types of currencies into physical money that can be transferred anywhere around the world. The aim behind the acceptance of cryptocurrency in banks, food delivery chains and the travel industry amongst others is mainly because of the security it boasts about.
Few other benefits of using the decentralized system are that blockchain technology helps remove the middlemen from the travel and transportation industry. It can also help track passengers’ luggage and many travel booking companies have started rewarding their customers with loyalty cards to encourage customers to use blockchain technology and return to their site as well.
If you are looking forward to booking a room in The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts, Japan. It is worth noting that the hotel partnered up with Coindirect, the leading global crypto-payment gateway and has become the first hotel across the globe to accept cryptocurrency for hotel bookings. Providing guests with over 40 cryptocurrencies, the hotel also ensures end-to-end secure payment service, flexible and easy bookings and a world-class experience.
The impact of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency has noticeably spread across banking, healthcare, automotive, real estate and now has stepped into the world of the travel industry. Applying blockchain technology in the travel and tourism industry will be the best choice to eliminate the risks faced like lack of transferability of travel tokens, improper baggage tracking, difficulty in identification, lack of secure payment, and overbooking.
The use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is the first step in the field of travel to improve the process and use a technology provided for the betterment of travellers. With thousands of advantages of cryptocurrency in the life of travellers, the good news is that crypto will only continue to rise with established security, versatility, universal reach and universal acceptance to grow.
It also must be noted that the travel industry is a natural fit for the advancements in blockchain technology. During travelling, the information of a traveller is inevitably shared amongst multiple players like online travel agencies, airlines, credit card companies, car rentals, and accommodation providers. Blockchain can access and store information easily and more reliably because the responsibility of the information is shared across the network.
Financial transactions are also a key element of the travel industry, and even the Blockchain as well. With the help of Blockchain, payments can be simplified and made more secure and traceable.
The bottom line is that travelling must be comfortable, convenient, cost-effective, and most importantly enjoyable and memorable. If sky-high fees, booking irregularities, bad reviews and long queues of waiting for booking seem like a hurdle to you, then blockchain can become your solution to modernize and streamline the travel experience.
It can be highly possible to imagine that within a few years, cryptocurrency would be accepted by major airline booking companies and even airlines. This statement comes after knowing the fact that blockchain-based tourism applications are no doubt a winning investment. It would be a piece of very exciting news if cryptocurrency is implemented in the field of travel on a massive scale.
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