While the high volatility in cryptocurrencies has raised concerns among investors, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry is finding new avenues to keep itself exciting and appealing to the masses. Despite the recent decline in crypto valuations, there is no dearth of the new-age millionaires who were early adopters of the cryptocurrencies, and are now enjoying the benefits of high crypto returns. Crypto tourism is emerging as the latest fad among such cryptocurrency enthusiasts, and travel companies across the globe are riding high on the new wave of interest to capitalize the maximum.
What is Crypto Tourism?
A number of tourism companies are launching special, dedicated travel programs to cater to the needs of crypto and blockchain enthusiasts. 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, has already had two big crypto tourism events. Their third cruise is scheduled to sail through the Mediterranean in September. The cruise trip spans five days, and is set to sail from Barcelona to Monaco to Ibiza and then back to Barcelona. With around 2,500 participants expected to attend, more than half the tickets priced in the range of $1,000 and $3,000 have already been sold out, reports CoinDesk. (See also, Insider Tips For Saving On Cruises.)
Who Uses Crypto Tourism?
The obvious target clients for such tours are the crypto rich and famous. With lots of money to spare, what could be better than sailing through the Mediterranean, enjoying the Swiss Alps, or hit the dream destinations of Singapore and Thailand with like-minded enthusiasts.
Beyond the usual fun and sight-seeing activities, crypto tours and cruises include conferences, exhibition and panel talks on cryptocurrency related matters. The events also include prominent speakers who are considered industry stalwarts in the cryptocurrency and blockchain domain, and remain the major attraction for the cruise participants for their industry insights. For instance, the third cruise planned by CoinsBank is scheduled to host the crypto token proponent John McAfee, BTCC exchange founder Bobby Lee, and noted investor and bitcoin cash supporter Roger Ver.
A few such crypto tours are organized for specific purposes, like the promotion of promising initial coin offering (ICO). They are open to participants who take ICOs seriously, and are at times focused on a specific region abuzz with ICO activity. The programs include conferences, presentations, and market talks by the promoters, industry leaders and the likes, and are aimed at audience who are looking for making significant investments in new-age blockchain or cryptocurrency offerings. For instance, Israel, which is a leading destination for blockchain-based startups has attracted lots of such enthusiasts through crypto tourisms. Innovation Experience, a tourism firm getting into crypto space, is involved in promoting local ICOs along with other blockchain startups through such tour programs. (See also, Top Blockchain Startups to Watch in 2018.)
The programs include tours to dedicated destinations, like the so-called “Crypto Valley” in central Switzerland. For instance, some of the tours are focused on businesses and investments in cryptocurrencies and blockchain space. They include a number of events which see participation from “Crypto Valley-based entrepreneurs, investors, lawyers, government officials, and businesspeople who are on the cutting edge of crypto-innovation” and offer a host of networking opportunities for the participants.
Interestingly, not everyone is allowed to book a seat on these “special” tours. Crypto Explorers, a prominent tour operator, claims to screen the applicants before allowing them the dream voyage. “We curate an experience in which you participate, meeting top thought leaders and engaging in lots of peer-to-peer exchange with other curious, energetic and knowledgeable participants,” claims Crypto Explorers website.
CryptoCribs offers an Airbnb-like service for crypto-friendly accommodations across the globe and aims to connect crypto-enthusiasts during their travels.
The Possible Pitfalls
However, a few red flags are being raised about crypto tours. With the cryptocurrency market already operating in a not-so-clear, unregulated manner across the globe, crypto tours are often accused of solely being used as a promotional medium which are often used to pitch dull ICOs and insignificant offerings to the ignorant participants. They are often compared to casino junkets, where a group of riches is taken through dedicated flights to illegal gambling destinations for a good time and gambling activities.
The Bottom Line
Despite all the buzz around the promising blockchain technology and the numerous cryptocurrency offerings built on top of that, not all businesses and initiatives are successful. Crypto tourism programs are an emerging trend which attempt to serve as a platform for bringing together like-minded participants and also promote selected offerings. 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, and 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, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.