AlipayHK, Kakao Pay, Touch ‘n Go and Alipay now accepted in Thailand

Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand
Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand

Ant Group, the operator of Alipay+, the global cross-border digital payments and marketing solution announced that a total of four mobile wallets are now accepted in Thailand. These include AlipayHK (Hong Kong SAR), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia) and Alipay (Chinese mainland), which has been accepted by Thai merchants since 2015.

What does this mean for Thailand?

Enabled through Alipay+, the latest development and the addition of three more mobile wallets will expand the seamless digital travel experience for more Asian tourists visiting Thailand, particularly in the midst of a rapid rebound in the local tourism industry.

Ant Group also unveiled new collaborations with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), to promote the Amazing Thailand campaign and to stimulate travel in Thailand. In addition to facilitating purchases and transactions made by mobile wallets familiar to tourists, Ant Group will also provide digital solutions to local businesses in areas such as digitalisation of service operations, digital marketing efficiency and customer experience enhancement.

This is targeted at helping local merchants to engage tourists more effectively from pre-trip to post-trip. Local businesses can leverage solutions including the Alipay+ D-store™ to build digital stores in the form of mini programmes, leveraging digital platform to engage tourists.

Speaking of the partnership, Mr Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of TAT said: “Building on the trust and collaboration we have had with Alipay for many years to engage tourists from the Chinese mainland, we are excited to further expand the reach through Alipay+ to tourists in three more Asian countries and regions, which are important source locations for Thailand.”

“We welcome Ant Group’s efforts to contribute to the digitalisation of the tourism industry by providing innovative digital solutions and close collaborations with local merchants. We are confident that this will lead to a revenue boost and growth opportunities for local businesses.”

Thailand’s flag carrier Thai Airways is one of the first airlines to integrate Alipay+ as a payment method. Users of all four mobile wallets can now seamlessly pay for purchases of flight tickets using their wallets, and enjoy competitive foreign exchange rates.

What does the expansion mean for Ant Group?

Commenting on the latest expansion of Alipay+ in Thailand, Dr. Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services at Ant Group, said: “We strongly believe that the acceptance of more Asian mobile wallets in Thailand will enhance the travel experience and further promote Thailand as an attractive and sustainable destination for travellers.”

“Our focus now is to onboard more local merchants in sectors including travel, retail, hospitality, F&B to integrate the Alipay+ solution. We look forward to working with local merchants, not only in the popular locations but also those in the lesser known areas, to help them grow and thrive with added digital solutions and capabilities,” she further added.

The Ministry of Commerce recently announced a surge in new registrations of tourism-related businesses, with new registrations doubling YoY during the first four months of 2023.

Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ aims to enable local businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach 1 billion regional and global consumers, through one-time integration and simple technical adaption. In addition to Thailand, Alipay+ is also widely accepted in destinations including the Chinese mainland, Macao SAR, Singapore, Japan, South Korea among others.

What is the wider industry context of this product news?

The State of Local Tourism in Thailand

Thailand’s tourism industry is a vital part of the country’s economy, generating billions of dollars in revenue each year. In 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, Thailand welcomed over 40 million international tourists. However, the pandemic had a devastating impact on the tourism industry, with international arrivals plummeting to just 6.7 million in 2020.

The pandemic has also had a significant impact on the local tourism industry in Thailand. Many local businesses that rely on tourism have been forced to close or downsize, and many people have lost their jobs. In addition, the pandemic has led to a decline in domestic tourism, as people have been hesitant to travel due to concerns about safety.

Despite the challenges, there are signs that the local tourism industry in Thailand is starting to recover. In 2022, international arrivals have increased to over 10 million, and domestic tourism is also starting to pick up. The Thai government has taken a number of steps to support the tourism industry, including waiving visa fees for certain nationalities and launching a number of marketing campaigns.

There are a number of factors that could help the local tourism industry in Thailand recover fully. One important factor is the continued vaccination rollout, which will help to reduce concerns about safety. Another important factor is the diversification of the tourism market, so that Thailand is not as reliant on a few key source markets.

The local tourism industry in Thailand is facing a number of challenges, but there are also signs of recovery. With the right support, the industry has the potential to rebound and contribute to the economic recovery of Thailand.

Some of the key issues facing the local tourism industry in Thailand include:

  • The decline in international arrivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • The decline in domestic tourism due to concerns about safety
  • The over-reliance on a few key source markets, such as China
  • The need to diversify the tourism market
  • The need to improve infrastructure and connectivity
  • The need to address environmental concerns

Some of the key challenges that need to be addressed in order to help the local tourism industry recover include:

  • The continued vaccination rollout
  • The diversification of the tourism market
  • The improvement of infrastructure and connectivity
  • The addressing of environmental concerns

The local tourism industry in Thailand has the potential to rebound and contribute to the economic recovery of Thailand. However, there are a number of challenges that need to be addressed in order to achieve this.

Gerald Ainomugisha is a business news reporter and freelance B2B marketer with over 10 years of experience in writing high-converting copy and content for businesses of all kinds, especially SaaS providers in the niches of HR, IT, fintech, eCommerce and web3. Since joining Upwork in 2012 (back when it was still eLance), Gerald A. has delivered great results for hundreds of clients, maintaining a 98% Job Success rate as well as 5+ years of Top Rated Plus rating (and Premium Writers Talent Cloud membership). Book a meeting with Gerald A. today to get the powerful SEO content you need! 

Gerald Ainomugisha, B2B marketing expert