What is crypto tourism?
Crypto tourism is a form of tourism that caters to cryptocurrency enthusiasts by offering packaged travel tours that can be paid for with digital currency or by offering lectures or classes on cryptocurrencies as part of the tour.
- Crypto tourism gained traction in 2017 and continued until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down all forms of travel and tourism.
- Some countries like New Zealand and the Bahamas advertise their use of cryptocurrencies in their marketing to tourists.
- The cryptocurrency market is unregulated as of July 23, 2021.
- Using bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies can make it easier to pay for trips and avoid high ATM fees, currency conversion fees, and protect against money theft abroad.
- Crypto tourism is a special type of tourism dedicated to travel scheduling that caters to crypto enthusiasts and investors, and often both.
Understand crypto tourism
Several tourism companies launched special and dedicated travel programs to meet the needs of cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiasts in 2018-2019. Most of these travel programs include cruises, which offer a number of dedicated amenities for cryptocurrency participants.
For example, Blockchain Cruises, organized by the tourism arm of Edinburgh, Scotland-based cryptocurrency provider CoinsBank, conducted four major crypto tourism cruises. The most recent was in Europe in 2019. The cruise trip lasted five days and sailed through the Mediterranean. Approximately 2,500 participants attended. Then the travel industry, crypto tourism stopped in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other forms of crypto tourism are simply travelers using cryptocurrencies to pay for their vacations. For example, before the pandemic, some tourism businesses in Queensland, New Zealand, took advantage of cryptocurrency to offer travel programs where tourists could use digital currencies to experience the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Also, countries like Grenada, Cyprus, and the Bahamas are friendly to tourists who want to pay with digital money. The Bahamas was one of the first countries to implement its digital currency called the Sand Dollar. Regulators are actively lobbying for the national adoption of this coin. If the adoption happens during the summer of 2021, it would be a historic event for cryptocurrency tourists.
Who uses crypto tourism?
The apparent target customers for such trips are the famous and the crypto-rich. Still, many ordinary people interested in cryptocurrencies can embark on a crypto tourism adventure or use cryptocurrencies to pay for their vacations.
Beyond the usual fun and sightseeing activities, crypto tours and cruises include conferences, exhibitions, and panel talks on crypto-related issues. The events have included prominent speakers who are considered industry stalwarts in the cryptocurrency and blockchain domain. For example, the 2019 CoinsBank cruise hosted crypto token advocate John McAfee, CoinsBank co-founder Vitaly Andrusevich, and prominent bitcoin cash investor and supporter Roger Ver. There is no information yet on the events for 2021.
In the past, some of these crypto tours were organized for specific purposes, such as promoting a promising initial coin offering (ICO). The programs included lectures, presentations, and market talks by promoters, industry leaders, and likes, and were aimed at audiences looking to make significant investments in cryptocurrency offerings.
As more countries open their borders to travelers, Americans plan to continue using digital currencies. The Travala.com report found that 22% of those interviewed said they plan to use cryptocurrency to pay for their trips in the second half of 2021.
Advantages and disadvantages of crypto tourism
When digital currency is allowed to pay for vacations, it offers a new way for tourists to pay for their vacations. For would-be crypto investors, a digital currency learning oriented tour can be helpful in teaching travelers how to invest and navigate the cryptocurrency market.
Also, while the pool of participants in crypto tourism is small, it may grow in the future. Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, is making inroads into the travel industry.
However, some red flags are being raised on crypto tours and crypto tourism in general. Since the cryptocurrency market already operates in a not so clear and unregulated way globally, crypto tours are often accused of being used solely as a promotional means to launch ICOs and petty offers to participants. It is also a small market for tourists, as the majority of the general public does not use digital currency and investing in digital currencies can be a limited group.
Example of crypto tourism
The Covid-19 pandemic put cryptocurrencies and other forms of tourism on hold. As the industry recovers, there may be future events like the 2019 CoinsBank cruise, which hosted crypto token advocate John McAfee, CoinsBank co-founder Vitaly Andrusevich, and prominent bitcoin cash investor and supporter Roger Ver. The cruise on Oasis by the Seas by Royal Caribbean started in Barcelona and ended in Rome. There is no information yet on the events for 2021.
And even though the high volatility of cryptocurrencies has raised concerns among investors, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry continues to have a following. In fact, as the world begins to open up to travelers in the summer of 2021, a report by Travala.com, the “world’s leading cryptocurrency online travel agency (OTA),” found that 38% of Americans plan to travel in the second half of 2021. And the report found a greater desire to use cryptocurrency to pay for vacations.
Frequently asked questions about crypto tourism
How are cryptocurrencies used in tourism?
There are a couple of ways that cryptocurrencies are used in tourism. It is used as a form of currency to pay for things like hotels, meals, and even airfare in some cases. Cryptocurrency is also used as a topic in tourist programs, such as a cruise that offers expert lectures and classes taught by digital currency experts.
What is a crypto tourism cruise?
A crypto tourism cruise offers passengers access to conferences and workshops taught by experts in blockchain and digital currencies.
What is blockchain tourism?
There is no such thing as “blockchain tourism”, but blockchain is used in the travel and tourism industry. Blockchain is a database that is often used in the cryptocurrency market. The blockchain keeps the data in blocks and chains them together. Blockchain enables cryptocurrencies to be produced, and this technology is impacting the travel industry by providing secure payment methods and helping with the management of multiple providers and platforms.
The bottom line
Before the pandemic, there were many rumors surrounding the promising blockchain technology and the numerous crypto tourism offerings, but not all companies and initiatives are successful. Crypto tourism shows are an emerging trend that attempts to serve as a platform to bring together like-minded participants and promote selected offerings. However, as countries begin to attract tourists, cryptocurrencies may continue to be an option to pay for vacations.
While these dedicated programs offer the opportunity to build a network among the still fledgling crypto community, participants should practice due diligence before making their next big investments in the niche sector.
Investing in cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative. This article is not an Investopedia or the writer’s recommendation for investing in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained in this document. To date, this article was written (June 29, 2018) and revised (July 23, 2021), the authors do not own cryptocurrencies.