Cambodia Boosts Tourism Economy Through Innovative Digital Currency Initiatives
Cambodia is taking strides to diversify payment options for tourists by solidifying partnerships for blockchain-based central bank digital currency (CBDC). This initiative aligns with the country’s broader strategy to modernize its tourism sector, recognizing tourism as a pivotal pillar of Cambodia’s economy.
Impressive Surge in Tourist Arrivals
The tourism sector in Cambodia reported a substantial increase in international tourist arrivals during the first nine months of 2023. The figures nearly quadrupled compared to the previous year, emphasizing the need to enhance payment systems for local merchants, especially in the realm of mobile payments.
National Bank of Cambodia’s Role in Digital Evolution
The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) has played a crucial role in driving these digital currency advancements. As part of their efforts, the central bank has facilitated tourists in utilizing their e-wallets linked to Khmer Riel bank accounts for payments at any KHQR merchant within Cambodia.
The KHQR system, introduced by NBC in mid-2022, serves both domestic retail payments and cross-border transactions within ASEAN countries. It employs a unified QR code compatible with various mobile banking apps, operated through the Bakong platform.
Expanding Alipay+ Transactions for Bakong CBDC Users
Furthermore, Bakong CBDC users meeting full Know Your Customer (KYC) criteria, alongside Khmer Riel bank account holders, can now conduct transactions at Alipay+ global merchant locations using local wallets and apps supported by NBC. This strategic move aims to facilitate the utilization of the local currency.
Leadership Voices Support for the Initiative
Dr. Chea Serey, Governor of NBC, highlighted the simplicity of the payment process, asserting that it provides a significant boost to merchants’ revenue and stimulates economic activity. Douglas Feagin, Senior Vice President of Ant Group and Head of Alipay+, Ant International, acknowledged the partnership’s benefits in offering added convenience to tourists. He emphasized that it enables easier shopping at local businesses, particularly for micro-merchants.
Transforming Cambodia’s Payment Infrastructure
This development in Cambodia’s payment infrastructure signifies a concerted effort to elevate the experience for international tourists while concurrently supporting local businesses in adapting to the evolving digital economy.
Enhancing Tourist Experience and Local Business Support
Cambodia’s innovative approach to digital currency initiatives not only seeks to enhance the experience for international tourists but also aims to fortify local businesses in the face of an ever-changing digital landscape. As tourism continues to play a vital role in Cambodia’s economic framework, these strategic moves are poised to contribute significantly to the sector’s growth and resilience.