The Sydney City Card will introduce Chinese tourists to sights and activities in hotspots around the city, and provides special geo-targeted 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 a hundred 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 launches ahead of the Chinese New Year week-long holiday in February, which will see 400 million Chinese travel – including seven million heading overseas – with Australia among the leading destinations.
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.
A 2018 Nielsen study found 99 per cent of Chinese tourists had the Alipay app installed on their mobile phone.
Alipay has also recently partnered with major financial institutions including Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Tyro, making its platform available via their proprietary technology.
China is Australia’s largest and most valuable tourism market, accounting for 81 per cent of the growth in tourism spending in Australia in the last 12 months, and for 27 per cent of total spend by international visitors.
More than 1.4 million Chinese tourists travelled to Australia in the year ending November 2018 (6.2 per cent year-on-year growth), and spent more than $11.5 billion (year-on-year 12 per cent year-on-year growth).
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