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Several shops in Santa Lucia, a popular tourist destination, are now taking Bitcoin payments to increase visitor spending.
As part of the Bitcoin Valley effort, Honduras's tiny tourist town has begun taking Bitcoin (BTC) payments from 60 local businesses.
According to a Honduran news outlet La Prensa report, several residents of Santa Lucia, such as shopping center owner Cesar Andino, anticipate that the project would increase business prospects and "draw more individuals who wish to use this money."
Andino added: “Accepting Bitcoin will enable us to enter a new market and get additional consumers. We must internationalize. We cannot lock ourselves off technology, nor can we lag behind countries that have already adopted it.
The initiative began on Thursday, allowing local business customers to pay in U.S. dollars, Honduran Lempira, or Bitcoin.
In collaboration with the Coincaex cryptocurrency exchange, Blockchain Honduras, and the Technological University of Honduras, the municipal administration of Santa Lucia launched the Bitcoin Valley initiative.
Coincaex provides the necessary hardware and services for crypto payments, while Blockchain Honduras educates the public on using crypto wallets.
La Prensa reported that even though clients can pay for products and services using Bitcoin, they will submit the coins to the Coincaex exchange. The exchange then quickly transfers the BTC’s worth in Lempira to the merchant, preventing them from incurring losses due to price fluctuation. Consequently, company owners do not get Bitcoin directly as payment under this method.
Local business owners believe that the Bitcoin Valley would revive tourism spending in the tropical coastline nation, which has significantly impacted the COVID-19 outbreak. According to research from Macrotrends, a worldwide economic tracker, Honduras’ annual tourist expenditures would drop by more than 66 percent to $189 million in 2020, from $556 million in 2019.
Honduras joins a tiny group of nations in the area that has legalized using cryptocurrencies to purchase goods and services.
El Salvador notably approved BTC as legal cash in 2021 and launched a statewide campaign to educate citizens on its value. In the village of El Zonte, a similar Bitcoin Beach tourist attraction has been established.
Guatemala’s Bitcoin Lake project is located near Lake Atitlan in the Sierra Madre Mountains. Mayor Cesar Piedrasanta of Panajachel, Guatemala, has also been mining Bitcoin with energy that, according to him, would otherwise be squandered.