Chinese mobile payments company Alipay and Tourism Australia will pilot a new city service in Sydney to promote leading tourist and retail destinations to Chinese tourists, throughout the Chinese New Year festive period in early February.
The Sydney City Card will introduce Chinese tourists to sights and activities in hotspots around the city, and provides special geotargeted promotions in key areas such as The Rocks, Darling Harbour, the Sydney Fish Market, Sydney Airport, Westfield Sydney, and Sydney Chinatown.
The interactive mobile map will operate through the Alipay app, which together with its regional partners has more than one billion users worldwide.
In Australia, tens of thousands of merchants accept Alipay, with more than one hundred leading retailers and tourist destinations such as BridgeClimb Sydney, the Sydney Aquarium, and Captain Cook Cruises involved in the Sydney City Card pilot.
The pilot program will run for 12 months, and launched ahead of the Chinese New Year week-long holiday in February.
“The Sydney City Card pilot is an innovative approach to engaging with our largest tourist market, and provides Australia with a critical advantage over other regional tourist hotspots during this peak annual travel period,” said Country Manager of Alipay, Australia and New Zealand, George Lawson.
“Chinese tourists will be able to access recommendations on what to see, where to shop and how to get around, all within an app they are familiar with and while being offered their preferred payment method around the city,” Lawson said.
“Providing this tailored and convenient customer experience is critical to maintaining and enhancing Australia’s reputation as a leading international tourist destination for Chinese travellers.”
Tourism Australia Managing Director, John O’Sullivan said, “Lunar New Year is an increasingly important time of the year for Australian tourism. We’re seeing more and more of China’s emerged and emerging high value travellers looking to use this key holiday break as an opportunity to travel overseas and to popular wish list destinations such as ours.”
According to O’Sullivan, the new generation of free and independent Chinese traveller has extremely high demands of an overseas destination, and a big part of meeting those expectations is around convenience and being made to feel welcome.
“We know the huge importance that Chinese travellers attach to Alipay as a preferred and trusted mobile payment system, and I have every confidence that the added value they’ll receive from the new Sydney City Card will prove hugely popular, by making the on-the- ground holiday experience easier and more engaging.”
The Sydney City Card program will run concurrently with a similar initiative in Queenstown, New Zealand, with the potential for expansion into other major tourist destinations in Australia and New Zealand in the near future.