The Phuket Tourist Association (PTA) and the Bank of Thailand (BOT) are reportedly considering offering cryptocurrency payment methods to Russian travelers in Thailand.
The move would be an escape door after Russian citizens were subjected to severe restrictions from many countries and businesses in the wake of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Thailand seeks help from the Russians:
The Russian military operation against Ukraine prompted many countries to declare economic war on the largest country in terms of area and try to isolate it from the world of global finance.
The West has expelled some Russian banks from the SWIFT system.
At the same time, major companies such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard announced that they would stop serving customers based in Russia.
In contrast to those sanctions, Thailand is seeking to offer Russian tourists alternative settlement options in cryptocurrency.
According to a local report, PTA Chairman Bhumiketi Rocktingham stated:
Cryptocurrencies can act as a backup and alternative in case of cancellation of transactions.
He also hinted that Thai companies could start interacting with the Russian “Mir” payment system and take advantage of the procedures between each other.
“Rocktingham” stated that there are currently 3,500-4000 Russian tourists and 300-400 Ukrainian visitors in the city of “Phuket”.
Another 3,000 travelers from both countries are in Krabi, Koh Samui and Pattaya.
Ordinary tourists are allowed to stay for a maximum of 60 days in Thailand.
Despite numerous requests, Thai authorities have said they will not extend the visas of those who cannot return home due to the military conflict.
On the other hand, the government announced that no tourists from either country would be deported against their will.
Russia switches to China’s UnionPay:
As the list of financial payments providers continues to grow with plans to withdraw from the Russian market, Russia has begun searching for cash alternatives in its southern neighbor, China.
A few days ago, the Bank of Russia said that local lenders would be able to use the UnionPay system.
The central bank stated that the company’s headquarters is Shanghai, China, and the service operates in more than 180 countries.
The institution also added that several Russian banks are already using UnionPay, while other banks (including Sberbank and Tinkoff) can start issuing cards, which combine Russia’s domestic Mir settlement system with the Chinese system.
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