Spanish-owned Destinia, which has offices in Dubai, has become the first online travel agency to take bitcoin payments in the Middle East, quoting universality and low-cost transactions as particular benefits to the currency.
Bitcoin has been met enthusiastically by e-commerce firms and customers that are seeking to avoid merchant fees or are not affiliated with a particular financial institution. For the travel industry, which often deals with multiple nationalities and currencies, conversion costs and transfer delays cause particular problems.
“Bitcoin payments are a practical modality that has been welcomed by travellers in 50 countries all around the globe; from Germany to Argentina, and now, we have brought it all the way to the Middle East,” Amuda Goueli, CEO and co-founder of Destinia, said in a statement. “We want our customers to know that the Middle East is prepared to adopt this new virtual currency, and that Destinia is prepared to welcome and pioneer innovation.”
“Controversial or not, we see great potential in Bitcoin payments in the region as we already have experienced them in Europe,” Goueli added.
“Right now Bitcoin is a niche currency, subject to questioning and skepticism, but in a world that is so strongly motivated by e-commerce, [the digital] economy cannot be expected to function in the same ways as it would in the physical world. The future is now, and now is the moment to embrace it.”
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