Using cryptocurrencies in tourism is now on the government’s agenda

Soraya Nildarar
Written by Soraya Nildarar

The head of Iran’s e-tourism community board of directors, Hassan Ansari, proclaimed the activation of a digital currency payment gateway in the sales system of tourist centers, hotels, and travel companies such as international companies accepting common digital currencies, in near future.

While some of the world’s tourism destinations have been able to facilitate tourist attraction by using digital currencies like Bitcoin, there have been whispers in this regard heard from Iran.

According to asrebank; Experts believe that many of today’s world-class transactions are done through digital currencies, and the use of such currencies can create an opportunity for the field of tourism. They point out that digital currency can be used as the main source for funding and supporting financial relations in the tourism industry. It can even be said that using digital currencies are more efficient than cash and credit cards, considering their features and conditions.

“At the same time, digital currency accounts can reduce the risk of encountering pickpockets during the journey, and this is a significant security advantage that digital currency offers its users”, Hassan Ansari said.

“A Task Force consisting of experts and professors has been studying and designing a virtual currency, specialized for tourism for months. The design has been presented to the vice president and the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization’s director. The digital tourism currency project needs to be reviewed and approved by the Vice-President, the Central Bank’s president, and the Minister of ICT at first. Then an official task force is established at the first vice president’s office with the participation of related institutions, supported by the government. The working group will review and evaluate the implementation procedures of the currency”, Ansari stated emphasizing that we will soon see decisions made in this regard.

Why does tourism need cryptocurrencies?

Digital currencies have come to aid tourism around the world.

Meanwhile, HassaAnsari says that Iran’s tourism industry is dealing with various infrastructure problems, especially in the area of foreign tourist attraction. He believes that one of the most important cases is the weak international financial and banking services and that this issue will make it difficult for foreign tourists to transfer currency and pay foreign brokers.

It is not possible for foreign tourists to use their credit cards or transfer cash funds in Iran. Therefore, the growing use of digital currencies in travel agencies, resort and recreational complexes, healthcare centers, souvenir shops and tourism infrastructures can create new opportunities for the country; such as facilitating the payment of travel expenses or transferring funds.

The tourism industry can benefit from digital currencies in several ways, Ansari said.

Hassan Ansari

He explained the benefits that cryptocurrencies can offer tourism:

Freeing Iran’s economy of the international currencies’ domination such as dollar and euro, eliminating them from trading in the tourism market, facilitating the national and international transfer of money, removing the existing intermediaries, existing barriers and restrictions, neutralizing political sanctions and restrictions, independence from SWIFT in international transfers, eliminating the inflammation of the financial market (caused by the currency market’s fluctuation) in tourism, reducing the cost of transferring and creating money, making travels simpler and smarter, as well as reducing the costs for tourists.

Ansari also added to aforementioned benefits:

The use of digital currencies can also attract capital to the tourism industry in form of digital currencies. It can also attract foreign and domestic investments to the industry, create transparency of assets and financial transactions, and promote financial technology infrastructures (FinTech) in the field of tourism and medical tourism. With cryptocurrencies used in the tourism industry, one does not need to carry physical cash; the conversion rate will decrease for currencies, and the need for creating trust is removed. Thus, foreigners who visit Iran are able to ask their relatives and friends for money. Keeping digital money is safer than carrying cash. Financial transactions can also be done faster, using digital currencies.

 Another feature that cryptocurrencies hold is that they have an anonymous nature, and their transactions are irreversible once they are done, Ansari stated.

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Soraya Nildarar

Soraya Nildarar

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