Tourism Authority of Thailand and Alipay+ Jointly Welcomes More Visitors to Thailand during Chinese New Year

Friday 23 February 2024 16:46
According to TAT, more than 1 million international tourists visited Thailand during the Chinese New Year period, of which there were 211,349 Chinese touristsAccording to TAT average spending by Chinese tourists increased by 15% from 2019, while spending by other Asian tourists increased by 14%According to Alipay+, Thailand is the 4th most popular destination globally for Chinese tourists, and 3rd amongst other Asian tourists; Thailand is the most popular destination in Southeast AsiaAccording to Alipay+, total spending by Chinese tourists in Thailand increased more than 4.5 times from 2023Alipay+ has recently enabled 13 international e-wallets and bank apps to be used in Thailand, with more than 250,000 store acceptance; facilitating more seamless travel experiences Data from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Alipay+, shows a robust rebound of consumer spending during the first back-to-normal Chinese New Year (CNY) travel season after the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in cross-border tourism in Thailand.
Tourism Authority of Thailand and Alipay Jointly Welcomes More Visitors to Thailand during Chinese New Year

During the CNY period, data from TAT showed that there were 1,008,899 international tourists who visited Thailand, of which there were 211,349 Chinese tourists. Average spending by Chinese tourists increased by 15% from 2019, while spending by other Asian tourists increased by 14%, with top categories being shopping, F&B, massage & spa, attractions and night life. The top visited cities in Thailand are Bangkok, Phuket, Chonburi, Chiangmai and Krabi.

Mr. Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Deputy Governor for International Marketing - Asia and the South Pacific, Tourism Authority of Thailand, said: "The robust tourism arrivals during Chinese New Year has exceeded our expectations and shows that Thailand continues to be one of the top global travel destinations. As we head into the new year with this first travel peak season, we aim not only to bring more tourists into Thailand, but also ensure they can explore more of Thailand, more conveniently. By working with closely with partners like Alipay+, not only can we engage more Chinese and Asian tourists, but we can help these tourists have a better digitally-enabled experience, which also brings more growth to our local businesses. We look forward to strengthening our partnership with Alipay+ to put Thailand at the top of the list for global travelers in 2024 and beyond."

Growing Alipay+ ecosystem in Thailand to welcome tourists

As part of its ongoing partnership, TAT and Alipay+ have jointly launched co-marketing efforts to attract Chinese and Asian tourists to Thailand, and enable them to enjoy more value on their shopping and travel needs. This includes promoting trust and security, highlighting key destinations, cities and attractions across Thailand, and introducing exclusive campaigns and promotions.

As a result, for CNY 2024, data from Alipay+ shows that Thailand is the fourth most popular destination globally for Chinese tourists, with spending increasing 4.5 times compared to 2023. Thailand is also the most popular destination in Southeast Asia.

Enabled via Alipay+, 13 international e-wallets and bank apps can now be used in Thailand, of which nine are newly introduced: MyPB by Public Bank Berhad (Malaysia), Naver Pay and Toss Pay (South Korea), Changi Pay and OCBC Digital (Singapore), GCash (Philippines), Hipay (Mongolia), MPay (Macao SAR, China), and Tinaba (Italy).

Alipay (Chinese mainland) has been accepted in Thailand since 2015, while AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR, China), Kakao Pay (South Korea) and Touch 'n Go eWallet (Malaysia) have been accepted since 2023.

Thailand is also the third most popular global destination amongst other Asian tourists, and the addition of these new e-wallets ahead of the peak travel season provides added convenience to tourists, while bringing more growth opportunities to local merchants.

Alipay+ continues to scale its merchant acceptance, and is now available in more than 250,000 merchant stores in Thailand. Other than retail and F&B, new merchants include a wider range of tourist use cases including 7-Eleven convenience stores, Big C supermarkets, attractions like The Grand Palace, souvenir stores and spas such as Let's Relax and Health Land.

Thailand continues to be a key shopping destination for tourists with the top merchants including King Power, Siam Piwat Department stores and Central Department stores. In addition, the recent expansion of Alipay+ merchant network in Thailand has also made everyday travel more convenient with 7-Eleven and Big C supermarket also amongst the most popular.

Sittipong Kittiprapapong, General Manager, Global Merchant Partnership, Thailand, Ant International, said: "Our ongoing close collaboration with the TAT is bringing more Chinese and Asian tourists into Thailand and making it easier for them to shop around the country. Seamless digital experience is now the norm for tourists and with the recent introduction of more Alipay+ partner payment apps in Thailand, we're excited to see the growth in transactions using their own home e-wallets. Our goal is to help more merchants accept Alipay+ so they can benefit from the growth in tourism in the coming year. We look forward to strengthening our efforts with TAT and local merchants in the areas of education, merchant visibility and cross-border payments acceptance."

Robust recovery, diversified destinations and scenarios for outbound Chinese tourists using Alipay

Through the Alipay+ cross-border mobile payment technology solutions, Chinese travelers may pay for goods, food and beverage, recreation and entertainment at over 8 million merchants in over 70 countries and regions, all from their familiar home app Alipay, with no need to change money or carry cash. Alipay also offers in-app instant tax refunds, as well as transparent and competitive exchange rates.

Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Macao SAR, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, France, Australia and Canada are the top destinations for Chinese travelers by their Alipay spending. Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore combined saw a 7.5% increase over 2019, and a 580% leap over 2023, with Thailand leading in total volume and Malaysia showing the largest increase.

Closer socio-economic connections between Hong Kong SAR, Macao SAR and the Chinese Mainland, the new visa-free policies from major Southeast Asia destinations, including Thailand, and recovering international flight capacities are key enablers of the cross-border travel boom. While traditional Asia favorites keep their enthusiastic following, more distant destinations in Europe, ANZ, the Middle East and North America are also picking up in Chinese traveler spending.

A global campaign has been in full swing on the Alipay+ merchant network since December 2023 to attract Chinese tourists. In the CNY holiday week between February 9th and 12th, the number of transactions made by Alipay users overseas surpassed that of 2019 by 7% while consumer spending recovered to 82% of the 2019 level, or 2.4 times of 2023.

In addition to a greater geographical footprint, the Chinese globe-trotter is also expanding her interest from traditional activities like shopping and visiting major tourist sites, to more immersive and unique local experience. Globally in the CNY week, Chinese tourists spent 70% more on food and beverage than in 2019, venturing from downtown hotspots to out-of-the-way local treasures.

Promoting outbound travel among Alipay+ partner e-wallets and bank apps

Chinese New Year is widely celebrated across Asian communities. With new partnerships in 2023 and increased travel, total cross-border spending on the region's leading e-wallets powered by Alipay+ increased by 252% year-on-year. Daily average transactions increased by 304%. Japan, South Korea, Macao SAR, Thailand and Singapore are the top 5 most popular destinations for Alipay+ consumers besides the Chinese mainland.

In the Chinese mainland, international e-wallets and cards-enabled Alipay accounts saw multi-fold expansion. During CNY 2024, international travelers to China spent 500% more on their international card-enabled Alipay accounts at merchants in the Chinese mainland compared to 2023. Chinese restaurants, tourist attractions and public transportation are the most popular use cases for international visitors traveling in China and experiencing the festival. Since September 2023, Alipay + has supported 10 leading e-wallets and payment apps in Asia, including TrueMoney, to serve their roaming users across Alipay's 80-million-strong merchant network in China. Visa, Mastercard, JCB, Discover(R), and Diners Club International(R) also expanded their collaboration with Alipay for travelers linking their international credit or debit card to their Alipay e-wallet.

Source: FAQ