TAT makes move into the metaverse
Tourism body to open virtual Bitkub office to attract younger travellers from around the world
published : 13 May 2023 at 04:04
newspaper section: Business
writer: Molpasorn Shoowong
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to open its first virtual office in the Bitkub Metaverse in the third quarter of this year, in a bid to attract millennials and foreign tourists to bolster Thailand's digital economy.
The TAT signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday with Bitkub Blockchain Technology Co to cooperate on the promotion of Thai tourism through the Bitkub Metaverse, opening a tourism-related exhibition and marketplace inside its virtual buildings.
Nithee Seeprae, TAT deputy governor for digital research and development, said the project is expected to lure younger tourists, who account for 25-30% of total arrivals, as they have digital-oriented lifestyles such as playing games and collecting digital assets.
Bitkub expects to have 300,000 metaverse users for the first phase in around October, with about 100,000 users being converted into actual tourists, said Mr Nithee.
As most of the users are expected to come from the domestic market, with average spending of 4,000 to 5,000 baht, the new metaverse visitors could generate at least 400 million baht during the first phase, he said.
In the initial phase, the TAT building is set to feature a TAT history exhibition as well as major Thai tourism landmarks such as Wat Arun Ratchawararam and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, where metaverse users can engage and book tickets for these sites.
The TAT hopes to draw 100 operators, or 20-25 per region, to showcase their products on the site.
Users can make purchases via the BitKub Next wallet for services and collect vouchers to use in actual stores and attractions, said Passakorn Pannok, chief executive of Bitkub Blockchain Technology.
More features will be added on Bitkub Metaverse in the future, with a focus on Thailand's soft power, said Mr Passakorn. These include a cooking show by Jay Fai, the street food restaurant awarded a Michelin star, and boxing fights by Buakao, a famous Thai boxer, said Mr Nithee.
He said users can engage with virtual activities and claim privileges with operators in the real world.
Meanwhile, TAT and Bitkub plan to merge some features in their YAKS application, allowing tourists who have collected non-fungible tokens from real tourist attractions via the app to convert those tokens into metaverse privileges.
Mr Passakorn said the metaverse and blockchain are crucial to boosting Thai tourism.
He said when the Thai government allows digital assets to be utilised in the real world, it can attract high-spending tourists such as digital nomads to the country.
TAT's virtual office in the Bitkub Metaverse is displayed at an exhibition at KubMespace Bitkub M Social, EmQuartier.
- virtual reality