If you have been to Las Vegas or other locations in the US that attracts tourist from abroad, you will undoubtedly notice the increase in travelers from China. Trade war aside, the Chinese government is relaxing a rules on travel by their citizens, plus the middle class is now becoming wealthy enough to consider taking trips abroad. PaymentsSource provides and overview of some of the numbers behind this trend:
When it comes to overseas travel spending, Chinese tourists are the leaders by a wide margin. According to the 2018 UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) 2018 Highlight report, Chinese tourists as a group outspent visitors from the No. 2 and No. 3 nations (U.S. and Germany, respectively) combined in 2017.
Last year there were 130 million outbound trips made from China to other countries, according to Ctrip, the largest online travel agent in Asia, and the China Tourism Academy (CTA), a specialized institute under the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). The 2017 figure represents a 7 percent increase over 2016’s figure of 122 million travelers.
Morgan Stanley noted in a recent report that the number of ordinary passport holders in China has tripled between 2012 and 2016. This is a clear indication of a country’s population gearing up to travel the world.
While in the U.S., Chinese tourist are apt to use the payment types they are most familiar with including WeChat Pay and AliPay which Mercator Advisory Group discuses in a report, Asian Mobile Payment Apps as a Way of Life: A Look at Alipay Paytm and WeChat-Pay. What is also noted is that tourist from Asia are likely to use mobile to pay in person and digitally. Watching Americans “dipping” and “swiping” our cards must be entertaining:
Based on the popularity of using mobile wallets at home, it should come as no surprise that when Chinese consumers travel overseas that these travelers are more likely to make a mobile purchase than non-Chinese travelers. About 65 percent of Chinese tourists reported to have used their phone to complete a purchase on their most recent trip compared to just 11 percent of non-Chinese tourists according to the Nielsen 2017 report, Outbound Chinese Tourism and Consumption Trends.
Overview by Sarah Grotta, Director, Debit Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group