At the start of this month, air traveling payment network UATP announced to integrate Bitcoin payments to its platform after inking a partnership with Bitnet, a payment processing platform. Though, this was not the first time that a traveling business acquainted a digital currency as its payment option. Earlier, a similar decision has been taken by popular traveling planners like WebJet, Expedia and CheapAir.
According to statistics dating back in 2013, tourism industry had contributed around $6,990 billion to the overall global economy. A huge part of this income was generated from online traveling businesses. What Bitcoin has in hands for now is a chance to propagate its benefits before millions of customers that access traveling services, and contribute to its ever-rising economy.
The best thing about being associated with such traveling planners is their exponential business network that entertains million of customers each year. There are hotels, restaurants, reward programs, cruise services, and many other businesses listed under the wings of multiple online travel planning websites. One can imagine how much Bitcoin gets to expose itself not only among these businesses, but customers as well.
And Bitcoin actually adds more bucks to the revenue. From the business’s point of view, the digital currency brings lower transaction fees to the table, therefore whipping away the traditional payment systems like wire transfers, PayPal, credit cards and even cash — all single handedly. Bitcoin perfectly acts as a single cross-border payment token that doesn’t ask hefty commissions or any sort of conversion charges. So selling a coffee on an on-board flight, or paying a restaurant bill in a foreign country becomes instantly easy, without relying on exchanging currencies firsthand.
For a moment, such instances seem like a natural invitation to Bitcoin — a decentralized, country-less digital currency — to come and expand itself as a naturally applicable payment option for travelers and businesses alike. Therefore, the news of big businesses accepting this digital currency perfectly illustrates its overall elevation in a mainstream traveling sector.
There are however few limitations as well, mainly related to Bitcoin’s price volatility. A normal traveler who has planned to travel an entire continent using virtual cash could be tricked at some point. For instance, he may buy 5 Bitcoins for $1,000, only to find that their value have been reduced to $600 at the time of spending. This might be the only troubling thing that keeps a user away from relying on Bitcoin.
At the same time, there have been attempts to reduce down such volatility through hedge funds and third party payment processors. Their results however are yet to be seen from a users’ point of view.
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