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Overseas tourism authorities team up with WeChat

  • Author:Nancy
  • Source:China Daily
  • Release on:2019-12-24

  Overseas tourism authorities team up with WeChat

Representatives of the tourism boards of 30 countries and regions recently gathered in Beijing for the Welcome with WeChat Alliance's launch ceremony.

The program aims to cooperate with global tourism-service providers to offer efficient marketing solutions in the mobile-internet era and enhance the travel experiences of outbound Chinese tourists using WeChat Pay and WeChat mini programs.

"We're working together to digitalize the global tourism industry," says WeChat's Ma Fengming, who's in charge of the program.

"For overseas tourism boards and their local partners, they will benefit from such digital services with higher efficiency and business revenue."

He says WeChat mini programs are versatile. Outbound Chinese tourists are able to read travel information and make reservations on their smartphones. They can enjoy convenient services in such areas as accommodation, shopping and insurance.

They can also enjoy interactive experiences that are common in China, such as scanning QR codes to order in restaurants, purchasing from online shops and receiving goods via delivery, and reading digital maps of scenic areas.

China is the world's largest outbound travel market. Chinese made almost 150 million outbound trips in 2018, a nearly 15 percent increase over the previous year.

Tencent's third-quarter 2019 financial report shows that WeChat's monthly users have reached nearly 1.2 billion, a roughly 6 percent increase year-on-year, while its mini programs have over 300 million daily users.

WeChat Pay's cross-border business offers payment services in 60 countries and regions, and supports 16 currencies.

"Growing demand from outbound Chinese will increase different demands for those who serve them," Ma says.

He says many providers are seeking solutions through cooperation with WeChat.

"Although our cooperation has just started, the future increase and demand offers great potential."

Li Zhaohui, head of the German National Tourist Board's Beijing office, says: "The alliance offers us professional knowledge about online-marketing campaigns on social media, which play an important role in attracting tourists. I'm confident that WeChat's technology and huge number of users will help enhance the travel experiences of Chinese tourists in Germany."

The alliance will help tourism bureaus educate their local partners, she says.

"Only after they understand the mechanism and influence of WeChat Pay and mini programs will they be willing to apply them in their services."

Eddie Yang, Asia director of the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, says: "The alliance is an essential platform for tourism boards to communicate with each other about successes or failures. And we can learn from the role models rather than burying ourselves in hard work alone.

"Non-cash payment is popular in the Netherlands, (such as) the Near Field Communication-enabled credit cards. It takes time for them to be familiar with WeChat Pay, which needs a QR code."

Switzerland Tourism's China promotion manager Batiste Pilet says it needs multiple parties to work together to promote the payment method in destinations that are popular with Chinese visitors.

"In Switzerland, a company that manufactures point-of-sale terminals came up with a solution about WeChat Pay," Pilet says.

"After they upgrade the system, the terminals will have QR codes on their small screens for Chinese customers to scan and pay. And merchants don't have to buy new terminals for WeChat Pay."