What Is Crypto Tourism?

As multiple industries begin to rebound from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, cryptocurrency enthusiasts are looking forward to spending their digital coins abroad.

And even while the high volatility in cryptocurrencies has raised concerns among investors, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry continues to have its fans. In fact, as the world begins to open up to travelers in the summer of 2021, a report from Travala.com, the "world's leading cryptocurrency-friendly online travel agency (OTA)," found that 38% of Americans plan to travel in the second half of 2021. And the report found an increased desire to use cryptocurrencies to pay for their vacations.

Key Takeaways

  • Crypto tourism gained traction in 2017 and continued until the COVID-19 pandemic shut all forms of travel and tourism down.
  • Some countries like New Zealand and the Bahamas advertise their use of cryptocurrency in their marketing to tourists.
  • Thirty-eight percent of travelers plan to use cryptocurrencies to pay for their vacations, according to a report by Tavala.com.
  • In 2019, Blockchain Cruises offered four crypto tourism cruises in the Mediterranean with 2,500 tourists.
  • Crypto tourism is a special kind of tourism dedicated to travel programming that caters to crypto enthusiasts and investors, and often, both.

Understanding Crypto Tourism

Several tourism companies launched special, dedicated travel programs to cater to the needs of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts in 2018-2019. Most of such travel programs include cruises, which offer a host of amenities dedicated to cryptocurrency participants.

For instance, Blockchain Cruises, organized by the tourism arm of the Edinburgh, Scotland-based crypto wallet provider CoinsBank, held four big crypto tourism cruises. Their most recent was in Europe in 2019, The cruise trip spanned five days and sailed in the Mediterranean. Approximately 2,500 participants attended. Then the travel industry, crypto tourism included, ground to a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other forms of crypto tourism are simply travelers who use cryptocurrency to pay for their vacations. For example, before the pandemic hit, some tourist companies in Queensland, New Zealand, harnessed cryptocurrency to offer travel programs where tourists could use digital coins to experience the Southern Great Barrier Reef.

In addition, countries like Grenada, Cyprus, and the Bahamas are all friendly towards tourists wanting to pay with digital money. The Bahamas was among the first countries to roll out its digital currency called the Sand Dollar. Regulators are actively pushing for the national adoption of this currency. If the adoption occurs over the 2021's summer, it would be a historic event for cryptocurrency tourists.

Who Uses Crypto Tourism?

The apparent target clients for such tours are the crypto-rich and famous. Still, plenty of regular folks interested in cryptocurrency may embark on a crypto tourism adventure or use cryptocurrency to pay for their holidays.

Beyond the usual fun and sight-seeing activities, crypto tours and cruises include conferences, exhibitions, and panel talks on cryptocurrency-related matters. The events have included prominent speakers who are considered industry stalwarts in the cryptocurrency and blockchain domain. For instance, the 2019 CoinsBank cruise hosted the crypto token proponent John McAfee, CoinsBank co-founder Vitaly Andrusevich, and noted investor and bitcoin cash supporter Roger Ver. There is no word yet on events for 2021.

In the past, a few such crypto tours were organized for specific purposes, like the promotion of a promising initial coin offering (ICO). The programs included conferences, presentations, and market talks by the promoters, industry leaders, and likes and aimed at audiences looking to make significant investments in new-age blockchain or cryptocurrency offerings.

As more countries open their borders to travelers, Americans are planning to continue to use digital coins. Travala.com's report found that 22% of those interviewed said they plan to use cryptocurrency to pay for their travel in the second half of 2021.

The Possible Pitfalls

However, a few red flags are being raised about crypto tours and crypto tourism in general. With the cryptocurrency market already operating in a not-so-clear, unregulated manner globally, crypto tours are often accused of solely being used as a promotional medium to pitch ICOs and insignificant offerings to participants.

The Bottom Line

Pre-pandemic, there was a lot of buzz around the promising blockchain technology and the numerous crypto tourism offerings but not all businesses and initiatives are successful. Crypto tourism programs are an emerging trend that attempts to serve as a platform for bringing together like-minded participants and promoting selected offerings. However, as countries begin to woo tourists back, cryptocurrency may continue to be an option for paying for a holiday.

While such dedicated programs offer an opportunity to build a network among the still-nascent crypto community, the participants should practice due diligence before making their next big investments in the specialized sector.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative. This article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest 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 herein. As of the date this article was written (June 29, 2018) and revised (June 15, 2021) the authors own no cryptocurrencies.