Blockchain Will “Seriously Change” Tourism, Says Russian Official
The chief of Russia’s federal tourism agency is “absolutely convinced” that blockchain will transform the tourism industry.
Oleg Safonov, head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Tourism, sees the tourism industry on the verge of major disruptive changes in brought on by new technologies. The official specifically picked blockchain technology as the core driver of this change. The Russian tourism chief was speaking at the Kazan Tourism Forum where he revealed the bullish prediction wasn’t a personal take but an opinion shared by the agency overall.
In statements reported by Russian state news agency TASS, Safonov said:
We are absolutely convinced in our federal agency that blockchain will seriously change the tourism market, although, in our opinion, it will happen not in two years, but in 5-10 years.
The Russian official specifically highlighted blockchain’s core characteristic of a decentralized network devoid of intermediaries that would lead to higher efficiency at cheaper costs. “[T]hey allow tourists, consumers to work directly with service providers [by] removing all intermediaries,” Safnov said. “This makes the product better in quality, less expensive and also increases the provider’s responsibility for the product.”
The official’s comments come at a time when the TUI Group, the world’s largest tourism company, is in the process of deploying its blockchain solution for its property management system.
Earlier this year, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev – the second highest official in Russia after Putin – ordered the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Economic Development to research and explore use cases for blockchain technology for public administration. Medvedev underlined blockchain as a “breakthrough” technology that has been put to use “by large banks, corporations and even some states.”
[It is] necessary to analyze how all this [blockchain tech] applies to our public administration and economy.
The Russian government is notably working on blockchain regulations ahead of its intended implementation in 2019 for applications in real estate and more. More recently, Russia’s Federal Agency for Technical Regulation and Metrology announced the formation of a new technical committee tasked toward the development of standards for blockchain technology.