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The Dubai government is set to improve the distribution of its tourism inventory by creating a virtual business-to-business (B2B) marketplace for its travel industry, using blockchain technology.

According to the official press release, Dubai Tourism’s virtual marketplace is aimed at “democratising travel through the use of emerging technologies”. The marketplace, which will add an “additional distribution channel for hotels” during the coming 24 months, will employ blockchain technology and smart contracts to connect customers and providers of travel services, ensuring increased transparency in pricing and allowing for greater customization of travelers’ trips to Dubai.

The blockchain marketplace, according to officials from the Tourism department, will provide visitors access to a “highly safe, transparent and real-time” local tourism inventory, with the aim of boosting tourist numbers. In addition, it will also allow smaller businesses equal opportunity to draw in customers, and encourage more companies to join Dubai’s tourism sector, thus increasing employment opportunities.

The B2B blockchain marketplace project is part of the Dubai 10X initiative, which will operate across various government entities, and aims to put Dubai ten years ahead of other cities by using disruptive innovation to exploit existing technologies and deliver services in newer and more improved ways.

As per local news source Arabian Business, Helal Saeed Almarri, (director general at Dubai Tourism) said his department is operating on a “‘digital, mobile and social’ first strategy”, and the 10X projects are aimed at “ushering in a new phase of development for government services by transforming a whole host of innovative ideas into reality.”

Dubai Tourism also added that they will coordinate with all relevant authorities and government partners in regards to the project.

While authorities in Dubai have issued regulatory warnings and cautioned investors about the risks associated with cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology has been widely embraced. Dubai has put all land and property registration on the blockchain, created its own digital currency called emCash, and announced plans to become a “blockchain-powered government” by 2020, with recent reports suggesting that the target might be achieved even sooner.