The government of Queensland, Australia’s second largest and third-most populous state, is backing a local crypto payments startup that officials believe will help boost tourism in the state.
In an announcement on its official website on Wednesday, the Queensland government revealed details of an AUD$8.3 million grant given to 70 domestic companies looking to innovate in the region. Pointedly, the announcement pinned Queensland-based crypto payments startup TravelbyBit as the headlining act in describing it as “a startup company set to drive more tourists to Central Queensland by selling travel experiences online using cryptocurrency.”
In statements after announcing the Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas grant to the crypto startup, Queensland Innovation Minister Kate Jones said:
“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries. TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”
TravelbyBit’s point-of-sale cryptocurrency payments app is currently in use among over 30 local businesses including resorts, tour operators and restaurants in Agnes Water, a beach-side tourist getaway now billed as Australia’s first ‘digital currency town’. The town’s own welcome sign labels itself as such, with bitcoin, bitcoin cash, NEM, litecoin and ethereum highlighted as the five cryptocurrencies accepted through the payments app.
“I understand TravelbyBit is specifically targeting places like Bundaberg (a coastal city in Queensland) – using cryptocurrency to make it easier for tourists to book holidays,” she said, adding “That’s why we’ve invested to help them scale-up their operation and ultimately create more jobs in Queensland.”
TravelbyBit is set to receive AUD$100,000 from the grant, funding which the company will ramp up its expansion to add to the 150 merchants already using its PoS crypto-friendly platform to accept cryptocurrency across Australia.
As reported, the startup is also enabling a number of retailers at Brisbane Airport, Australia’s third-busiest airport, to accept cryptocurrency from travelers arriving or departing its terminals.
TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh revealed the PoS platform will soon add support for Binance Coin (BNB) while confirming that the government grant’s funds will be used to expand its own team and further development of its platform to accept more cryptocurrencies in the future.
“We have more than 150 merchants across Australia using our system and this funding, to develop a purpose-built platform that will accept digital currencies from anywhere in the world, will allow us to add jobs not only directly to our team but also across the broader tourism industry.”