Brisbane airport recently announced a 7% increase in international tourists. Soon those tourists will be able to spend cryptocurrency in the terminal.
In the first example of its kind, Australia’s Brisbane airport is becoming the world’s first cryptocurrency-friendly airport. Working with local tech firm TravelbyBit, the plan is to allow tourists passing through the terminal to spend cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dash at a variety of outlets. Signed-up vendors include Botanist, Forte Espresso, Australian Way and News Travels.
Airports would seem to be natural first adopters for cryptocurrency technology. They have a constant flow of people from different countries, each holding different currencies, and all looking to spend some money while waiting for their flights.
TravelbyBit’s CEO Caleb Yeoh said that, “whenever you travel overseas you have to deal with multiple currencies and you never know what exchange rates the banks are charging you”. Using cryptocurrencies for travel is, “simple, safe and there are no bank fees”.
TravelbyBit specialises in the potential of virtual currencies in the tourism industry. They have built an ecosystem around Brisbane of crypto-accepting merchants, including luxury hotels and airport-transport companies.
Roel Hellemons, the airport’s General Manager of Strategic Planning and Development, pointed out that the people who own cryptocurrencies also tend to travel frequently. “Many people around the world have made money investing in cryptocurrencies,” he said, and “a lot of these people travel internationally”. They have cryptocurrencies and are willing to spend them so, “it makes sense to offer a digital currency experience within our terminals”.
According to Hellemons, the airport is “proud” of their achievement, especially as it is “in partnership with a small local start-up business”. All parties hope that this will help prove to an international audience that Brisbane is “a serious breeding ground of innovative thinking.”