Coming soon: More details about the Bitcoin Tourism Program.

Foreign exchange is a fairly lucrative industry. Exchange businesses make money in three main ways:

  1. The exchange rate between currencies isn’t the official exchange rate – it’s slightly weighted to the profit of the currency exchanger. For instance, for every $100 you get changed, you could only get $97 worth of foreign currency. The amount that the exchange rate varies from the official exchange rate is not advertised.

  2. Commissions, always mentioned by law. Sometimes you’ll see “0% commission” advertised, but don’t be fooled – the exchange rate will probably be worse to compensate. If there’s a commission, it will usually be between 2% and 10%.

  3. Additional fees and charges for certain exchange products and services.

This situation gets worse when you remember that you might not use all your foreign currency by the time you get home. In which case, you might exchange it back into your home currency (incurring more cost), discard the foreign currency (losing all that value!) or holding it until your next visit (if you are going to visit again – and even if you do, that currency will probably lose value through inflation anyway).

It’s a pretty annoying situation!

Bitcoin can be bought, sold and spent nearly everywhere in the world without needing to be converted into “local currency”. This makes it particularly advantageous for tourists and businesspeople who do a lot of overseas travelling. In addition, Bitcoin can be purchased with as little as 1% commission and no weighted exchange rate, if you shop around before you leave.

The Bitcoin you purchase in Australia can be used as-is at thousands of outlets throughout the world. You might not need to take as much foreign money with you, or you can take the same amount and use it a bit more! When you are ready to come home, no need to exchange it back to your home currency – just use the remainder when you get home at your local bitcoin businesses. (Or exchange it back for 1-2%).

Accordingly, it makes more sense for tourism-related businesses to accept Bitcoin. Every dollar your guest saves on exchange fees is an extra dollar they can spend with your business.

For the same reason, it makes sense for the Australian government, Tourism WA and EventsCorp to encourage the use of Bitcoin by people visiting Australia. Every dollar not wasted in foreign exchange is potentially a dollar for Aussie businesses and ten cents for the state government.

If you are travelling to Australia or out of Australia, you should definitely look at Coinmap.org to find Bitcoin-accepting businesses near where you will be staying and visiting. Get some Bitcoin in your wallet, save some money and support innovative Bitcoin businesses.

If your WA business caters to tourists, it may be well worth accepting Bitcoin. Remember, WA’s bitcoin community is fairly small but the communities in other countries are much larger, and any bitcoin businesses will be a natural destination for bitcoin fans visiting from other countries.

Do you run a business in WA that caters to tourists? Get free help with setting up Bitcoin payments – you might not even need it since it’s very easy to do, but help is at hand. Visit our Merchant Program page for more information.