In an effort to spur Chinese tourist spending beyond Austria’s major tourism hubs — mainly, Vienna and Salzburg — more of its secondary cities and towns are jumping on the Chinese mobile payment bandwagon. Following reports highlighting increased sales for businesses that that accept mobile payment options like Alipay and WeChat Pay, it’s no wonder that many are taking the logical route to attract and cater to desirable shoppers.
To facilitate this change, Wirecard, a Germany-based digital payment technology provider, announced on Wednesday that it has partnered with the Tyrol state tourism organization, Tirol Werbung, to offer mobile payment services across the region. Once installed, businesses connected with the initiative will be able to accept Alipay, with 150 businesses slated to join at the initial launch.
The initiative has attracted numerous regional partners, including Innsbruck Tourism, Kitzbühel Tourism, the Kufsteinerland Tourism Association, Ötztal Tourism, the St. Anton Tourism Association and the Swarovski Kristallwelten (a Swarovski-owned crystal museum in Wattens that opened in 1995).
Austria may not be one of the top destinations in Europe for Chinese tourists, but because of its close proximity to more popular countries like Germany and France, it can benefit from Chinese travelers’ desire to visit multiple countries during one trip.
From November 1, 2017 to April 30, 2018 (Austria’s winter travel season), the Tyrol region saw 138,000 Chinese tourists, while the total number in Austria for the period was 322,000, according to data provided by Tirol Werbung. During summer 2018 (May 1 to October 31), Tyrol welcomed 200,000 Chinese tourists out of a total 647,000 that visited Austria.
For the first half of 2018, Chinese travel statistics to Austria were strong, reporting an increase of 10.7 percent year-on-year, while Chinese tourist spending in the country grew 28 percent year-on-year for the entire year. Chinese tourists also accounted for 30 percent of all tax-free purchases in the country — the largest proportion for any tourist segment. And as more and more Chinese tourists seek new adventures and destinations, Austria will be ready.