“Travel far enough, you meet yourself” – Cloud Atlas
The travel and tourism industry is indeed a big part of our economy. Customer demands have increased. They expect their air miles to be updated the very minute they take their seats in a plane. Airbnb visitors want their and their hosts reputation score to be immaculate and updated in real time. They also demand to explore more exotic and far flung places to experience local history. It has become a matter of worry for the tour operators who must keep in mind security risks apart from logistics.
Technology In Travel:
There may be an economic slump on the horizon for many, but there is no stopping the upward graph of the travel sector. The tourism industry has been growing from strengths to strengths. From 5 star accommodations to backpacking across Europe, Travel agents are seeing all kinds of tourists walking in their doors. With Security playing a big hand, Tour operators are leaning on technology to not only keep their customers safe, but also ensuring that as the crowd travelling across the globe increases, each one has a secure digital identity.
Another aspect of tourism industry is logistics. Not only of the number of people travelling, but also of where they will be put up, what they will eat and how will they travel from one destination to another. There is usually a frazzled tour guide who coordinates all these details with hotels, transport operators and restaurants owners. This chaos has resulted in many missed luggage, switching of meal orders from vegetarian to non-vegetarian and even transit hassles at airports.
Technology offers us a path towards easy logistics and provides solutions to all our travel related worries. The be all solution is Blockchain technology.
New on The Block:
While many believe Blockchain to be limited to merely Bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies, there are many aspects of Blockchain which can be used in different sectors. Be it banking or education, Blockchain technology is being implemented worldwide. Its advent in Travel industry may be restricted to payment solutions (Cryptocurrencies) but its potential is a world apart. Blockchain can serve the tourism industry by cutting down on intermediaries. This also results in generating new revenue streams
Blockchain has different nodes or blocks. These nodes save data which can’t be tampered with. Once data of a tour along with all details of passengers, their passport including visa details are updated, the block is saved and it moves on to cover all the aspects that are involved in their travel. This ensures hassle free travel and no worries regarding any logistical aspects.
Though there is one little thing that needs to be kept in mind. A public blockchain is an open network that welcomes people to participate in. Ethereum and Bitcoin are the largest public blockchain networks today. A private blockchain on the other hand, requires an invitation or permission to join. Restrictions are placed on what type of transactions you are invited to participate in. Ripple is currently one of the largest private blockchains out there. Private blockchain caters to the very needs of travelers and tour operators. May be now, passport less travel may be made possible.
There are many who update their accounting systems for the cryptocurrency transactions that happen in their businesses. But, there are few who are breaking away from the mainstream and changing the entire industry on its head.
1. Winding Tree:
Heralding the beacon in tourism sector is Winding Tree. It is an open-sourced, blockchain-based decentralized travel distribution platform. It aims at making travel cheaper to end users while bringing in more business and profitability to its suppliers. Based on Ethereum, it has its own currency named LiF. It hopes to see other businesses and even travelers participating in its management so that no one centralized power can claim it.
The International Air Transport Association represents 117 countries. From the revenue that it generates, a large percentage goes to centralized banks. IATA has proposed on changing their entire structure of operations to implement Blockchain Technology. They aim to save and share that money or its equivalent value with its passengers either in Air Miles or by launching IATA Coin for future transactions. (IATA Coin is their own currency. This way you don’t have to dip into your banks and pay additional revenues)
Russian Tourism is rolling out a red-carpet welcome to all who are bringing in businesses from this platform. Similarly, Estonia, who are the pioneers in giving their citizen a digital identity, is also focusing on merging Blockchain on a tourism platform.
There are many businesses out there in this sector, who want to join in this new tech on the horizon. The only thing that’s probably stopping them is its ignorance or lack of awareness of its benefits. WebJet, TUI Group, Inn-finity Software Solutions are few names that are currently working on creating platforms for the travel industry based on blockchain technology. One thing is for sure. Soon, travel may be free from the uncertainties involved and end up only being about creating beautiful memories. Although that jet lag you suffer from every time you travel? Well, that’s never going away!
Next Read: Implementing Blockchain In Education