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Alipay records rebound in outbound Chinese tourists spending amid tourism recovery

Source: Alipay

Amid global cross-border tourism recovery, the average spending of Chinese tourists using Alipay overseas doubled in the first quarter of 2023 compared with pre-pandemic levels in the same period in 2019, according to Alipay, the leading digital open platform that offers a popular mobile payment method and all kinds of life services to Chinese consumers.

Outbound Chinese tourists on average made more transactions in the first quarter of 2023, with an increase of 20% compared with the same period in 2019, according to the platform.

According to the forecast of China Tourism Academy, the number of inbound and outbound tourist visits is expected to exceed 90 million times, equivalent to 31.5% of the pre-pandemic level.

The top 5 shopping destinations by transaction volume for Chinese mainland Alipay users traveling cross-border are Macao SAR, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Thailand and France, while the top 5 tourist destinations by number of transactions are Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia. Over 90% of merchants in Hong Kong, from street-side food stands to major retailers, have adopted Alipay to serve Chinese mainland tourists, and “transportation QR code” is the most popular search term on Alipay for these tourists in the first quarter of 2023.

In the quarter, foreign exchange rates and benefits offered by local merchants are the most searched services by Chinese tourists on the Alipay platform when they traveled overseas, followed by air tickets and hotels. Alipay offers preferential exchange rates to users according to their membership level as well as digital coupons with various merchant benefits targeting Chinese consumers. Additionally, the search for mobile data increased by 600% compared with that of 2022.

Tourism boards, brands and merchants in popular tourist destinations are welcoming the return of Chinese tourists in various ways.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand has formed a strategic partnership with leading platforms like Alipay. Through this partnership, Chinese travelers paying via Alipay in Thailand where there are more than 550,000 partnered merchants are able to enjoy exclusive benefits. Currently, merchants and brands in over 70 countries and regions support Chinese tourists to pay via Alipay.

Merchants and brands from Asia to Europe are already gearing up to welcome Chinese tourists. Efforts by popular shopping destinations such as department stores Printemps in France, El Corte Inglés in Spain and La Rinascente in Italy, retail complex La Roca Village and Las Rozas Village in Spain, as well as leading travel retail operators like Dubai Duty Free, include hiring Chinese-speaking staff, launching dedicated benefits programs and campaigns for Chinese consumers, and offering convenient mobile payments and tax refund services through the Alipay platform.

Korea Railway is among the latest to launch a mini-program on Alipay to allow Chinese tourists to check train timetables of the country’s all major cities, reserve a ticket and make the purchase directly in the Alipay app, with a promotion from April 10 to May 9.

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