Australia’s international travel ban has devastated Australian tourism businesses — A new partnership between Expedia and Travala, however, could see domestic crypto travelers boost industry revenue.
Australian online travel agency platform Travala is bringing Bitcoin payments back to the tourism industry through a new partnership with international travel bookings giant Expedia. The new partnership is positioned to deliver a much-needed digital currency injection into the faltering Australian tourism industry.
Australian Travel Ban Remains in Effect
Australia’s outward travel ban, originally set to run from 18 March to 17 June 2020, was quietly extended to September 16 last month. With mid-year holiday options strictly limited to locations within Australia and, in some cases, in-state only, Australian tourism businesses are turning to domestic travelers in order to recover from a $15 billion downturn in tourism industry revenues.
Travala’s new partnership with Expedia Partner Solutions, announced on July 6, will bring cryptocurrency payments return to the travel industry and open the doors to over 700,000 hotels worldwide — including more than 8,000 Australian tourism businesses.
Using Travala, Australian domestic travelers are now able to pay for hotels and accommodation in over 30 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, and Travala’s native token, AVA. Expedia has made cryptocurrency purchases available in the past, but ceased accepting digital currency payments in mid-2018.
Domestic Tourism Set to Benefit from Crypto Payments Boom
With the Australian domestic cryptocurrency valued in excess of $5.9 billion with over 300,000 active cryptocurrency users, Travala’s crypto-friendly local travel options are uniquely positioned to provide much-needed capital flow into the stalled Australian tourism sector.
Travala CEO and co-founder Juan Otero highlighted the positive impact of digital currency on tourism revenue worldwide in a July 6 press release:
“Our latest month-on-month data shows consumer confidence and the desire for travel is returning, with an 81% increase in room nights booked and website traffic up 50% week-on-week.”
Travala’s latest report data indicates a healthy rebound in the travel industry, revealing a 170 percent increase in booking revenue. Notably, 13 percent of Travala’s bookings are made in the platform’s native AVA token — which can now be used to purchase goods and services at over 500 retailers across Australia.
The prospects of international travel for Australian holidaymakers, however, aren’t looking great. Speaking in June, Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham stated that borders are likely to remain closed until 2021.
Australia’s ongoing travel ban is expected to cause a drop in GDP of 0.7 percent, with roughly 7,200 Australian tourism businesses expected to close permanently before Q4 2020.