UnionPay improves travel payment for 6 million Chinese tourists

Published on : Friday, January 22, 2016

unionPayIn 2015, the Chinese mainland is the world’s No.1 in terms of the number of outbound tourists and the outbound tourism spending. Since the beginning of this year, the outbound tourism market is still heating up.


The latest data released by UnionPay International indicate that about 6 million Chinese tourists will celebrate the upcoming Spring Festival overseas. Free independent traveling and in-depth traveling are the new travel trend, and it is an emerging preference of tourists from major domestic cities to experience the local life, which further diversifies their spending demands. In this context, UnionPay card become one of the travelers’ best companions that helps them savor the unique flavors of the destinations.


Spring Festival & New Year: outbound tourism overperforms domestic tourism


According to the data released by National Tourism Administration the other day, a total of 120 million tourists from the Chinese mainland travelled abroad in 2015, with a spending of RMB 11,625 yuan per capita. Among these tourists, two thirds are free independent travelers.


This persistent boom of outbound tourism is also reflected by the Spring Festival bookings with major domestic travel agencies. According to data from LY.COM, the booking rate for outbound travels for the upcoming Spring Festival was 62% as of mid-January, far exceeding that of domestic travel, which was less than 30%. The largest sources of outbound tourists are Shanghai, Beijing, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Nanjing, and Guangzhou.



The Annual Report on China Outbound Tourism (2015) published by China Tourism Academy shows that the four major tourists sources are the Bohai Rim centered around Beijing, the Yangtze River Delta centered around Shanghai, the Pearl River Delta centered on Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and the Chengdu-Chongqing urban agglomeration, all with differentiated outbound spending preferences. And the UnionPay network has enabled a more convenient spending experience overseas.



Among the tourists from the aforementioned regions, tourists from Beijing like fee independent travel the best with the most transportation spending. They also have the highest demand for entertainments, and like to experience the most representative local cultural attractions. Second to Beijing residents, tourists from Shanghai also prefer free independent travel, and are willing to spend more on cultural activities and food. Guangzhou residents prefer to go on family tours, and attach greatest importance to the local cuisine, while Chengdu residents pay more attention to accommodation, entertainments and transportation rather than food.



Meeting their diversified demands, UnionPay card has become the payment option most commonly used by Chinese outbound tourists. The use of UnionPay cards overseas has extended from traditional purchase of luxury goods to other fields like leisure and entertainments. Tourists’ spending at overseas department stores, supermarkets, and hotels has witnessed a continuous growth, and the proportions of spending on entertainment, catering and tickets also keep increasing year by year. Amusement parks have become the favorite entertainment of Chinese tourists. This spending trend is about to continue with the popularity of free independent traveling.



UnionPay card facilitates international in-depth tours


The outbound tourism trend of China has drawn extensive attention of many overseas markets. As of November, 2015, the number of tourists from the Chinese mainland to Australia exceeded 1 million for the first time in history. Director of Tourism Australia states that with more Chinese tourists prefer free independent traveling, the market of group tours is shrinking. Now, many hotels and travel agencies in Australia provide Chinese language services, Chinese-speaking tour guides and Chinese food to attract Chinese tourists.



The aforementioned Report also points out that an increasing number of overseas merchants take UnionPay card acceptance as an important means of attracting and a basic service for Chinese tourists. The acceptance of UnionPay cards has become an important indicator to measure the degree of satisfaction of Chinese tourists. In Britain, for example, UnionPay card acceptance has become one of the authentication conditions of the “Great China Welcome” program launched by Visit Britain.



To keep up with this trend, the overseas UnionPay card service system is continuously improving. Currently, UnionPay cards are accepted at 27 million merchants and 1.9 million ATMs in over 150 countries and regions, covering not only places most frequented by tourists but also supermarkets, convenience stores, snack bars, cinemas, and theme parks with local features. Many of them also provide exclusive offers for UnionPay cards.



Meanwhile, UnionPay also provides a good number of value-added services to meet tourists increasing demands for transportation and journey planning. Now, with UnionPay cards, tourists are able to book THSRC and Eurail tickets online in advance, pay for taxi in Australia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, or rent cars at AVIS in Taiwan and major outlets of Budget and Hertz in Thailand. Additionally, the covering scope of tax refund service, emergency cash assistance and other UnionPay card services is undergoing continuous expansion.



UnionPay International also launches a major marketing campaign at the beginning of the new year to facilitate tourists’ traveling during the upcoming Spring Festival. Over 400 merchants including 12 renowned shopping groups such as Taipei 101, Lotte Duty Free, and Yodobashi, and 12 major tourism brands like Eslite, Sentosa, and Madame Tussauds, all provide up to 15%-off discounts for UnionPay cards. Besides, 6 major hotel groups including Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Group, and Peninsula Hotel Group provide up to 30%-off discount for online booking with UnionPay cards.



Moreover, UnionPay cardholders to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and the U.S. will have the chance to get up to 10% cash refund, in conjunction with other offers, from the issuers. Members of travel agencies of CITS, CTS, CYTS, Caissa, Spring Tour, uzai.com, and tuniu.com may also enjoy up to 12% reward for using UnionPay cards abroad.

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