Turkish airport operator TAV has launched payment options through Alipay, China's most widely used payment method, at private passenger lounges in Frankfurt, Copenhagen and Zurich airports.
TAV Operation Services, a subsidiary of TAV Airports Holding, launched the service in three prime-class passenger lounges in cooperation with Wirecard.
It plans to gradually expand the services to the 70 passenger lounges TAV operates across 22 countries.
TAV Operation Services General Manager Bora İşbulan said that China currently ranks first in the global tourism market. Chinese tourists went on 131 million overseas trips in 2017 with an increase of 7 percent compared to the previous year, and spent about $260 billion, he said.
"Our research shows that experience is more important than price for Chinese tourists," İşbulan said, adding that TAV Operation Services is striving to provide its guests a privileged travel experience.
"As part of our efforts to focus on the Chinese market, we are cooperating with Wirecard and launched the Alipay application at three of our passenger lounges. We have received very positive feedback. We will continue to create solutions that provide customized experiences through a close follow-up of passenger needs and expectations," İşbulan said.
Wirecard Travel and Transportation Sales Chairman Jan Rübel said: "I think it is an exciting opportunity for us. We can reach thousands of travelers by offering Alipay services at TAV Operation Services," he said, adding that Chinese tourists are an important market for companies all over the world. "We will continue to work on digitizing payment systems all over the world."
According to a 2017 Nielsen survey, a Chinese tourist traveling to Europe spends an average of 3,250 euros, a quarter of it on shopping. The same survey found that 91 percent of Chinese tourists say they can increase the spending if they had could pay through Chinese payment systems. Thanks to Alipay, Chinese tourists can avoid currency exchange or credit cards issues.