Thailand, well known for its white sandy beaches, royal palaces and ancient Buddhist temples, is a popular vacation destination. Indeed, the travel industry is one of the most important economic sectors in the country, contributing almost 20% of the GDP and supporting 21% of the work in 2019, as indicated by the World Travel and Tourism Council. . Thailand hosted nearly 40 million foreign travelers who produced over US $ 56 billion for the country in 2019. Then, at that point, came the pandemic. After closing its borders for more than a year, the country lost $ 80 billion in revenue. Supasorn said the acceptance of digital tokens for the movement will make the country more attractive to crypto holders and help support the travel industry’s income despite the lower number of foreign travelers.
“There are people who have gotten rich by holding digital currencies and they might want to use the wealth they’ve accumulated,” Supasorn said. “If they can use their currencies here without having to exchange them, or face government taxes, it would be more convenient for them.”
To recoup some of this lost income, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is seeking to attract rich crypto to the country’s shores. TAT is working with regulators and Bitkub, the country’s largest crypto exchange, to enable tourists to pay with cryptocurrencies and position the country as a “crypto-positive company,” TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn told Bloomberg in a recent interview.
Thailand opened its borders to vaccinated travelers from more than 60 countries last month. However, Supasorn said tourism is expected to lag behind and only reach pre-Covid levels by 2024.
According to the Bloomberg report, the authority will set up a new unit that will issue its own crypto token – TAT Coin, produce a wallet, and build a new tourism ecosystem next year. TAT is already working with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission, Bank of Thailand and Bitkub on the project.
TAT first announced in February its intention to attract crypto holders, particularly from Japan, by enabling crypto payments at tourist destinations. But since Thailand doesn’t accept cryptocurrencies as legal tender, allowing crypto payments is easier said than done. However, Supasorn said TAT is laying the groundwork by now when global travel restrictions are completely lifted.
Bitkub Founder and CEO Jirayut Srupsrisopa recently told the Bangkok Post that the private cryptocurrency market will back TAT Coin with the digital infrastructure it needs, provided the government approves it first. “Our national GDP could grow six times if we can strengthen this market,” Srupsrisopa added.
While the crypto-tourism campaign involving the issuance of TAT Coin has potential, the authority is cautious and is reviewing all regulatory obligations, preventative measures against cybercrime and ensuring customer protection, Supasorn said.
Thailand tightens its grip on the crypto market
Supasorn aims to showcase Thailand as a crypto-friendly destination for foreign travelers. However, as one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to introduce crypto regulations, Thailand’s policies towards crypto are rather ambiguous. Thailand first regulated crypto with its Emergency Decree on the Digital Asset Business Law which went into effect in May 2018. The law classified virtual currencies as a new asset class and has gave the SEC responsibility for regulating the market while a separate decree levied 15% capital. tax on gains on transactions of digital assets.
The law also provided for penalties, including prison terms to prevent fraud, money laundering, tax evasion and other crimes. The country’s crypto legislation was introduced after the Bank of Thailand – the country’s central bank – banned financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies in February 2018. Since the introduction of digital asset regulations, the government has updated regulatory oversight and obligations to address various aspects of the evolving crypto industry. Many of these updates have strengthened government control over the crypto market while repeatedly denouncing crypto.
For example, in February 2021, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith criticized excessive speculation in the crypto market and said cryptocurrencies pose a risk to the Thai capital market. In March, the SEC released a bill proposing that cryptocurrency trading be restricted to those with a minimum annual income of 1 million baht (approximately US $ 33,000) or those with minimum net worth. of 10 million baht, excluding the value of their house. . The bill also stipulated that investors should have a minimum of two years’ experience in trading in stocks and futures before being allowed to trade cryptocurrencies. The bill, which was introduced in an attempt to protect investors, sparked a public outcry because it could potentially bar low and middle-income families from trading in crypto. The SEC backed down on the draft, saying it was released to assess investor sentiment.
After an SEC hearing, the markets regulator replaced annual income with crypto education requirements in April. The SEC has updated the proposed legislation, which now states that those wishing to invest in crypto must have previous experience in crypto trading and that new to the market must undergo training or take a test to prove their knowledge. before you can start trading. In March, the Bank of Thailand also outlined its regulatory approach to stablecoins and declared Terra’s THT stablecoin illegal.
In May, Thailand’s Anti-Money Laundering Authority introduced strict know-your-client requirements for opening crypto trading accounts. The new guidelines required customers to be physically present for verification and went into effect in September. The law essentially halted the opening of new accounts by stock exchanges which had to modify their operating procedures to comply with the new requirements. In June, the SEC announced that decentralized finance projects that issue tokens would require a license to operate in the near future. Later that same month, the SEC cracked down on memecoins and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The regulator introduced a new rule banning memecoins like Dogecoin, Shiba Inu and SafeMoon as well as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), fan tokens and exchange tokens. It also prohibited exchanges from providing services related to these tokens. The markets regulator has given exchanges 30 days from the date of the announcement to remove these tokens from the list and comply with the rule.
Summary of the news:
- Will Thailand Become a ‘Crypto-Positive’ Travel Place?
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