Thai authorities consider accepting cryptocurrency from Russian visitors


The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) of Thailand have discussed and plan to introduce alternative payment methods including cryptocurrency for Russian tourists to Thailand, local media reported. Nation Thailand on March 10. This action is considered in view of approximately 4,000 Russian tourists stranded in Phuket, a province of more than 30 islands off the southern coast of Thailand. Russian tourists have faced financial restrictions since payment companies Visa and Mastercard announced on March 5 the suspension of support for cards issued by Russia outside the country for mounting pressure on Moscow to put end to its military assault on Ukraine.
PTA President Bhummikitti Ruktaengam recently led the discussion on allowing Russian tourists to use cryptocurrencies as a last resort and emergency measure, if fiat transactions are not accepted. Ruktaengam further suggested that Thai businesses could integrate Russia’s Mir card payment system, which was developed in 2014 after a few Russian banks were denied services by Visa and Mastercard following the annexation of Crimea. Currently, some companies in the tourism sector are using the Chinese payment platform Unionpay, also a bank card service provider, to offer Russians in the country another means of payment to cover their bills.
Phuket has been a popular tourist destination for Russian tourists. Apart from Russian tourists, around 400 Ukrainian visitors are also stranded in Phuket. In addition, 3,000 Ukrainian and Russian tourists are vacationing in Koh Samui, Krabi and Pattaya regions of Thailand, bitcoin.com citing the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). . Due to the cancellation of flights due to the conflict between the two nations, tourists have not been able to return to their countries. Russian airways to Phuket area, Russian airlines Aeroflot and S7 do not fly to Phuket as many countries have closed their airspace to Russian planes. The Thai government is trying to help Russian and Ukrainian tourists by waiving the $60 visa extension fee.
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