UnionPay's Payment volumes for Chinese tourists jumped almost 6X during CNY 2023, while UnionPay purchases at merchants in Thailand grew even faster at over 7X when compared to CNY 2022.
Since 8 January 2023 when China first lifted its border controls, Thai businesses and tourism sector have eagerly anticipated the return of Chinese tourists. The travelers from Mainland China are returning - Over the 2023 Chinese New Year (CNY) period of 21 to 30 January, UnionPay's payment volumes from Chinese tourists jumped close to six times compared to 2022 CNY period. UnionPay purchases by Chinese travelers' at merchants in Thailand grew even faster at over seven times, compared to five times growth for ATM cash withdrawals at UnionPay ATMs in Thailand.
The surge in spend from Chinese tourists is not surprising given that Trip.com reported in late December 2022 that Thailand was the second most searched destination when China's National Health Commission announced that inbound travelers to Mainland China would no longer need to quarantine upon arrival, ending a policy of nearly three years. Even before the pandemic hit in early 2020, Thailand was also the top travel destination for Chinese tourists based on outbound trips from Mainland China in 2019.
"We are pleased to see such healthy growth in payment volumes from Chinese travelers during this CNY period, and that they continue to choose to pay with UnionPay when visiting Thailand. We expect to see even stronger payment volumes when group tours from China start on 6 February 2023. In preparation for the return of visitors, UnionPay International (UPI) has continuously strengthened our merchant acceptance to provide a more seamless payment experience for these Chinese tourists. UnionPay is now widely accepted at close to 200K merchants in Thailand, covering many categories and sectors." said Michael Shang, Thailand Country General Manager of UPI.
Over the 2023 CNY period, Chinese tourists spent most on Luggage and Leather goods, Lodging, and at Convenience/Department Stores. In terms of transaction frequency, Food & Beverage outlets, Supermarkets, and Convenience/Department Stores saw the most transactions. "With superb shopping, delightful cuisines, pristine beaches and wonderful hospitality, the Land of Thousand Smiles is a perennial favorite with Chinese tourists. We stand ready to meet the payment needs of increasing number of tourists traveling here." said Michael Shang.
About UnionPay International
UnionPay International (UPI) focuses on the international business of UnionPay, a global payment network that serves the world's largest Cardholder base. With over 70 million merchants accepting UnionPay in 181 countries and regions, and over 40 million merchants in 46 markets globally accepting UnionPay Quick Response (QR) Code, UnionPay is one of the fastest-growing payment networks in the world.
As a company with a global acceptance network and a wide range of world-class payment services, UnionPay is committed to providing access to value and secure payment solutions that are tailored to the needs of the local market, to enable choice and ease of payment for consumers and businesses alike.
In Southeast Asia, UPI has enabled ATM, POS acceptance, card issuance and e-wallets across all 10 countries. In Thailand, a wide range of UnionPay Cards and several apps are enabled to scan UnionPay QR Code, including Bewallet and K PLUS, the number one mobile banking app in Thailand. For more information on UnionPay Thailand, visit https://www.unionpayintl.com/th/.