Over the past years, the travel and hospitality industries have been growing at an annual rate of around 5 percent, almost outpacing the growth of international trade. From the macroeconomic point of view, it accounts for 10% of the global GDP and 30% of total export of services. But the most important contribution of the tourism industry is its ability to create income and generate new jobs.
Some areas feel the impact more than others and, according to recent OECD data, in such countries as Spain, Portugal, Iceland, France, Malta, Aruba, The Maldives, and Cape Verde, tourism is one of the main drivers of socio-economic development. Put simply, it is one of the most important sources of welfare for these regions.
However, it doesn’t mean that people don’t visit other places. Just consider this: in 2016 the number of international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) reached a total of 1.235 billion worldwide. How could 10 countries fit this amount of travelers? Additionally, it is expected that by 2030 this number will exceed 1.8 billion.
It is hard to imagine that just a century ago traveling was considered as a luxury, accessible only to a small segment of the population. Although, now it became a part of the lifestyle of millions. Many people don’t know, but such a positive change has been achieved thanks to the adoption of new digital technologies. It includes GPS navigators, that replaced inconvenient paper maps, as well as the emergence of such reservation systems like Booking.com, Expedia or even Airbnb, through which you can book accommodation quickly and easily, and the rest of useful applications, like Uber and Lyft. Nowadays, in order to keep pace with the changes which occur globally, the tourism industry should absorb new trends, hi-tech features, and implement new ideas in a dynamic way.
The following question must be raised- is there a way to improve the tourism sector even further? And the answer is simple- blockchain technology implementation. In a matter of time, decentralized ledger system was able to prove itself in every single industry, so far. Even the World’s biggest multinational corporations began working on their very own blockchains. This has led to the fact that we are on the verge of a new reality, and obviously, those who adapt to changes first will emerge victoriously.
Scaling-Up the Industry with Blockchain
With the introduction of blockchain into the tourism industry, everything will become more secure, transparent, private and most importantly way more efficient. It means that users’ data, including financial data and ID details, will not be shared to a third party without previous consent. Also, the cryptographic nature of blockchain makes it almost immutable, that in the case of the travel industry is extremely important. One may ask, why is that? Well, the answer is in the runoff. Travel agencies or platforms hold astronomical amounts of vulnerable personal information such as passports, bank accounts, and even people’s income records. Keeping all these pieces on the distributed ledger, blockchain is able to protect them from fraud, hacking and misuse.
Moreover, it can reshape the way travelers book flights and accommodation. With decentralized technologies, they’ll have a much cheaper and more appealing alternative to traditional Booking.com or Airbnb.
But what about companies? Why should they implement this system? The reason is the same: blockchain protects hotels and airlines from possible frauds. And, most importantly, without ventures having to waste money or time, as the intermediaries are eliminated from the process. It is worth mentioning that deploying a blockchain system can help lower overhead expenditures by significantly reducing transaction costs. All the payments will be handled by peer-to-peer networks and require no centralized verification. This means a small company can accept payment in any digital currency or another blockchain settlement platform and pay fewer merchant processing fees.
By the way, similar solutions already exist in the tourism market. The blockchain version of Airbnb was created by the Rentberry company. Smart contracts help handle relations between tenants and landlords in a more reliable and transparent manner, with all agreements being written on the blockchain ledger.
Another curious startup that uses blockchain to make travel cheaper for consumers and more profitable for suppliers is the Swiss Winding Tree. It’s a decentralized open-source travel distribution platform, which allows airlines and hotels to connect with travel operators and agencies directly, without centralized control of big market players, excessive fees, and barriers for entry. Winding Tree established partnerships with Lufthansa, Air New Zealand, Swiss International Air Lines, and Austrian Airlines to bring the new technology to the travel industry.
New Digital Payment Method for Travelers
Blockchain can enhance travelers experience in many ways, but the most anticipated is, of course, paying with digital assets. This is particularly important, considering the fact that the number of people owning this type of currency is increasing daily.
Blockchain throws down a challenge to the traditional methods of payment, and the most tech-savvy companies are actively adapting to the new realities. Doubtless, the technology makes a big difference in financial transfers. It facilitates international payments so that travelers don’t need to exchange currencies multiple times, thus saving their time and cutting off additional commission expenditures.
Until recently, this was just a dream, but thankfully there was a group of people that made the dream a reality. This venture is called the Noah Project and it is powered by the non-profit Noah Foundation. The company implements several blockchain projects that will allow locals, expats, and travelers to take advantage of the innovative digital technologies — send and receive money transfers in virtual currency, use it to transact products and services and even enjoy a luxury vacation on the Philippines.
The creators of the Noah project admit that:
“The rise of blockchain is inevitable. Today people expect to access what they need in a fast, simple and convenient way. If a person wants to get his confidential data protected, he should get it. If an expat wants to transfer money to his family at home easily, he should get it. And, obviously, if he wants to pay for traveling with virtual money — we should think about that. You cannot ignore these technological trends, as they’re not going anywhere. But you should be among the first to bring them to the world”.
They have created their very own payment system, called Noah Pay, which integrates the option of paying with digital assets. This is where the Noah Project stands out from other blockchain-based payment solutions providers: Noah Pay solves the problems of complexity of usage with its clean, clutter-free and seamless UI and intuitive UX design that makes making payments a breeze. It also uses state-of-the-art features to provide unmatched security of funds and transactions. Moreover, Noah Pay itself has two versions — Noah Pay Wallet for consumers and Noah Pay Merchant for businesses.
The Noah Project is among these “ first ones”. Since its start in 2016, the company has been developing the Noah Ecosystem that comprises of various services, and beach vacations are among them. The Noah Project partners with Dakak Beach Resort in the Philippines to create the Noah Resort, where the company’s digital currency will be accepted. Thus, travelers will be able not only to sunbathe but will also get exclusive access to all the facilities of the resort, including 3 tennis courts, horseback riding, golf course, rock climbing, kayaking, scuba diving, river and sunset cruises. The Noah Resort aims to open a whole new travel experience where people won’t need to worry about currency exchanges — all they need is the wireless connection and a blockchain wallet.
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