In a move that is set to significantly enhance the experience of tourists visiting the Philippines, Ant Group, the operator of Alipay+, has announced that four mobile wallets are now accepted in the country. These mobile wallets, including AlipayHK, Kakao Pay, Touch ‘n Go eWallet, and Alipay from the Chinese mainland, have been integrated into the payment ecosystem, allowing travelers from various regions to enjoy a seamless cashless experience.
The acceptance of these three new mobile wallets, facilitated by Alipay+, comes at a time when tourism is making a robust comeback in the Philippines. According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), the country has welcomed over 3 million tourists in the first seven months of 2023, signaling a continued recovery in the travel sector. In addition, inbound tourism receipts for the first half of 2023 have surged by over 500% compared to the same period last year. Notably, South Koreans top the list of international visitors to the Philippines, with Malaysia ranking among the top 10.
Alipay+ has already gained traction among Filipino merchants since its initial acceptance in 2017. Currently, it is widely accepted by merchants in Manila and Cebu, two of the most visited cities in the Philippines before the pandemic struck in 2019.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA), the second-largest airport in the Philippines, has taken a pioneering step in catering to the preferences of digital-first travelers. MCIA has integrated Alipay+ into approximately 90% of its merchants to ensure that tourists can enjoy a digitally enhanced cashless experience from the moment they arrive in Cebu. Athanasios Titonis, Aboitiz InfraCapital Chief Executive Officer assigned to MCIA, emphasized the importance of convenience and ease of travel for passengers, and the integration of Alipay+ aligns with MCIA’s commitment to providing world-class services.
MCIA’s strategic location and world-class facilities position it as a vital tourism gateway, connecting the world to the Philippines. Furthermore, MCIA stands as the first and only airport in the country to receive the Airport Customer Experience (ACX) accreditation from the Airports Council International.
Dr. Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services at Ant Group, expressed optimism about the partnership and its potential impact on travelers. She noted that the digital adoption and solutions offered by Alipay+ would shape travelers’ expectations, influencing their engagement with travel-related businesses, from airports to hospitality, and retail stores. The focus is now on collaborating with local partners to onboard more merchants with Alipay+ across the Philippines, particularly small local businesses, to promote digital travel and travel recovery.
Introduced in 2020 by Ant Group, Alipay+ aims to empower local businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to process various mobile payment methods and connect with more than 1.4 billion regional and global consumers. This is achieved through a streamlined integration process and simple technical adaptation. Apart from the Philippines, Alipay+ has gained wide acceptance in several other destinations, including the Chinese mainland, Macao SAR, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, among others.
As tourists flock to the Philippines and the travel industry experiences a resurgence, the expanded acceptance of these mobile wallets is set to transform the way travelers make payments and enhance the overall travel experience in the country. With this development, Alipay+ reaffirms its commitment to driving digital transformation and convenience for both travelers and businesses in the Philippines and beyond.