Five innovations by blockchain in tourism

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Blockchain. According to some, a revolution that will change the world. According to others, it is a solution for which there is no problem yet. Nevertheless, blockchain can also have an impact on tourism. In this article we explain what blockchain is and what solutions it can bring. It is a complex subject and a technology that is still developing. So it can be a bit abstract at times. That’s why we try to give examples where possible.

The challenge

Many things in our world require intermediaries. For payments, these are banks and for the transfer of valuable properties, a notary. These are parties we trust to guide the transfer of transactions (e.g. money or property). In addition, other intermediaries have emerged that hardly add any value to the chain, but mainly offer convenience, overview and reliable transactions, such as Amazon, Facebook or These intermediaries therefore have advantages, but also disadvantages. For example, they store a lot of personal data, which is an invasion of privacy and they are sensitive to abuse of power, monopolies or hacks. Some players (such as Google or banks) also question whether they have not built up such a social position that the consequences can still be foreseen if these parties are about to collapse (‘too big to fail’).

The role of blockchain

Blockchain could possibly offer a (partial) solution for this. Blockchain is actually a kind of digital ledger. In this ledger, transactions can be jointly recorded by users without the intervention of a third party (such as a bank, a notary or any other party). Not one central computer or database is used, but blockchain uses an entire network of individual computers of users. Because cryptographic techniques are used, it is particularly safe. In addition, each computer on the network maintains a continuous copy of the digital ledger, and any changes must also be approved by a majority of the computers on the network. Many extra safeguards have therefore been built in to prevent abuse.

Blockchain technology is increasingly seen as a promising solution to a wide variety of challenges in various industries, including tourism. In this article we will give five examples of innovations that blockchain can offer in tourism.

#1: Decentralized booking systems

Blockchain technology can be used to create a new type of booking system where hotels and other accommodations can offer their rooms and facilities directly to travelers without the involvement of third parties such as booking platforms. This leads to lower costs for both travelers and hotels, as no commissions are paid to intermediaries.

An example is, a booking platform on the blockchain. It enables hotels to sell their rooms directly to travelers without the intervention of third parties. The platform uses smart contracts (kind of contracts that automatically execute themselves) to manage the booking and handle the payments between hotel and traveler. This also reduces the need for human resources, as most processes are fully automated.

#2: Sustainable tourism

Blockchain can be used to map the impact of tourism on the environment and local communities. By storing data on a blockchain, travel entrepreneurs and tourists can track the impact of their activities in real time. This enables travelers to make responsible choices when choosing their destinations and activities.

An example is a platform that enables travelers to measure and manage the environmental and social impact of their travels. Blockchain can calculate the impact from different types of data and then record this. The advantage of blockchain is that it offers a shared infrastructure (so it can be combined with data from different parties), data cannot be changed (and therefore cannot be manipulated), it is safe (there is not one central point where the data is stored ) and that the data is public (which also makes innovation by third parties easier). For example, you can provide travelers with information about the sustainability of tourism activities and enable travelers to minimize their impact. You could also reward travelers for sustainable behavior via the blockchain.

#3: Safe sharing of personal data

The following applies to most existing solutions in the field of identification and personal data: you must first hand over your identity and then have yourself verified. The disadvantage of this is that your data is known to many parties and is therefore susceptible to misuse, data leaks and violation of privacy.

Blockchain can be used to create a secure and decentralized platform for sharing personal data between travelers, hotels, airlines and other involved parties. This can help ensure traveler security and privacy and improve the efficiency of the verification process.

An example is Civic, which has developed a platform that allows travelers to securely verify their identity via the blockchain. The unique thing about this is that the identity is checked on the blockchain and does this without sharing personal data with third parties. We call this ‘Zero-knowledge proof’. This technique allows you to prove something without having to reveal the evidence itself.

The person who wants to check the identity receives cryptographic proof that the identity is correct, but does not receive the personal data itself. For example, the startup Evernym has already developed a Travelpass that allows you to travel without leaving all kinds of personal data.

#4: Improved baggage tracking

Blockchain technology can be used to improve luggage tracking, reducing the stress and time spent by travelers tracking down their missing luggage. The use of blockchain-based systems can also reduce the chance of luggage being lost or stolen.

Many parties are involved in the transport of luggage: travelers, airlines, baggage handlers, insurance companies, security authorities, etc. Baggage can be registered via the blockchain and then transparently tracked. This way you can always see where your luggage is and who is responsible. The blockchain creates a single system where the data of all parties involved is stored transparently and can therefore also be checked by the traveler.

An example is SITA, an airline technology company, which has developed a platform for managing baggage data. It keeps track of the status of each baggage unit, making it easier to track and track baggage.

#5: More efficient payments

Finally, the blockchain can be used to improve payment processes and increase the efficiency of transactions. Because intermediaries are no longer needed, this can help to reduce costs and increase the speed of transactions. This makes it easier for travelers and companies to do business with less costs, more speed and greater accessibility.

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