For starters, the offering will be available only for customers in Argentina.
Despegar Leads the Way
The agreement, announced by the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange – Binance, turned Despegar into the first online travel agency (OTA) in Latin America to accept digital assets as a means of payment. Customers will be able to settle hotel accommodation, flights, car rentals, and cruise trips in more than 70 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), Litecoin (LTC), and Ripple (XRP).
While the new option applies only to clients in Argentina, it might reach other countries across South America in the future.
Paula Cristi – General Manager of Despegar for Argentina and Uruguay – said the firm has realized the merits of the cryptocurrency industry, arguing the offering will allow Argentines to “approach this universe in a friendly way.”
“We are proud to continue adding new alternatives and payment facilities for that more and more people fulfill their dream of traveling,” she added.
Maximiliano Hinz – Binance Director for Latam Southern Cone – claimed crypto’s main use case is to facilitate payments. He is convinced that the sector is still in its early days, believing “adoption has a lot of room to grow.” The exec highlighted the partnership between Despegar and Binance Pay, describing it as an “important step” that could promote digital assets across broad society.
The payment method is supported by Inswitch – a global financial technology company responsible for converting digital currencies to fiat. CEO Ronald Alvarenga commented:
“We are happy about this new alliance with Despegar and Binance, as it fulfills our commitment to democratize the payment industry and allow Despegar clients one more payment method when embracing the world of cryptocurrencies.”
Despegar is among the largest travel agencies in Latin America. It has over 4,500 employees and stretches to over 20 countries in the region, including Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, Venezuela, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and many others.
Crypto Invades the Tourism Industry
Cryptocurrencies have already interacted with well-known global hotel chains. The Pavilions Hotels & Resorts, which has locations in Bali, Phuket, the Himalayas, Rome, and Amsterdam, teamed up with Coindirect in 2021 to allow payments in 40 different digital assets.
The Chedi Andermatt – a Swiss hotel in the Alps – followed suit, enabling customers to settle their accommodation in BTC or ETH instead of fiat.
Novotel Bahrain Al Dana Resort, located in the capital Manama, W Dubai – The Palm, and Palazzo Versace Dubai are also on the list.
It is worth noting that the biggest hotel chain by the number of available rooms – Marriott International – has also dived into crypto’s ecosystem. Unfortunately for the organization, it is among the numerous FTX creditors.
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