The popular travel agency Destinia recently announced that it will be relying on Bitcoin for all its transactions in Venezuela. In a post on the company’s blog, the company confirmed that its decision to forsake the Bolivar for Venezuelan transactions is designed to make it easier for that nation’s residents to use their services. The country’s currency has plummeted in value over the last several years, as the Venezuelan economy continues its freefall.
The company’s Transportation Department head Victor Oliva noted that,
“Venezuelans not only face difficulties to leave the country, but also to pay with credit cards, as they are only allowed to use the domestic currency. Prioritizing Bitcoins as the means of payment may be of help.”
According to the announcement, travel bookings from Venezuela have seen a 34% increase in 2016, with much of that travel directed to destinations like Madrid, Mexico City, and resorts in Cuba. That increase in travel came in a year when more than 150,000 Venezuelans fled the country to escape the collapsing economy, rampant crime, and chronic lack of basic necessities like food and medicine. Despite Venezuela’s abundant natural resources – including the largest proven oil reserves in the world, years of socialist rule have left the nation on the verge of economic and social ruin.
Hyperinflation and a declining Bolivar have made even simple transactions difficult for average Venezuelans. That has led to increased demand for Bitcoin in Venezuela, with the number of digital currency users growing from 450 to more than 85,000 in just the last two years.