According to statistics from the China National Tourism Administration, Chinese tourists travelled overseas on 131 million occasions in 2017, an increase of 7.0% from the previous year. Data from the International Association of Tour Managers shows that overseas travel spending by Chinese tourists reached USD 261.1 billion in 2016, an increase of 4.5% year-on-year, and ranking first worldwide.
In line with this, Kenya Association of Travel Agents (KATA) recently hosted an industry meeting for her members in partnership with KCB & UnionPay International to explore “Opportunities in China for Travel Agents”.
UnionPay International is a global payment system accepted in 50 African countries and in more than 170 countries and regions worldwide. It is the world’s biggest card network, with 7 billion debit and credit cards in circulation. About 100 million UnionPay cards have been issued and the card is accepted by over 51 million merchants and 2.57 million ATMs in China, and 23 million merchants and 1.64 million ATMs outside mainland China
“We are the fastest growing payment brand in the world, particularly in Kenya we are going to be a brand that is more and more visible to the local market” says Mark Mbugua, Marketing Manager – UnionPay International Africa Branch during the KATA industry meeting.
As far as Africa is concerned UnionPay International cards are accepted in almost every country, therefore any UnionPay cardholder travelling across the continent can use the card at point of sale, ATM and ecommerce.
Chinese outbound market is very important, cash is not the easiest thing to travel with and having security to know that they can use their cards for purchase and withdrawal makes it easier for the Chinese and ultimately they end up spending more.
In Kenya, Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is the first bank to be issuing UnionPay card and it offers significant advantages for Kenyans traveling to China. For travel agents, they stand to benefit a great deal since with 100% ATM and POS acceptance in China, customers can transact easily in China and beyond. Offering China and Asia bound customers the UnionPay cards is a great value-addition as they will not need to worry about carrying cash.