As the year of 2016 is around the corner, how will you plan your outbound travel for the next year? UnionPay International’s cardholders’ outbound spending statistics show that, Chinese tourists not only favor short-distance destinations in Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, but also prefer to choose the US as one of their favorite long-distance outbound travel destinations. Moreover, Thailand has, for the first time ever, become the first choice of tourists from second- and third-tier cities in the Chinese mainland.
As the bankcard most commonly used by Chinese tourists for outbound spending, UnionPay card has witnessed continuous growth in transaction volume at overseas department stores, supermarkets, and hotels in the past few years. The proportion took up by entertainment, catering and tourist attraction ticket spending has also been increasing over the years. This trend of spending structure is expected to continue with independent traveling gaining greater popularity among tourists.
The US becomes the hottest long-distance destination
According to the report released, the destinations chosen by tourists for independent travels become increasingly diversified. In addition to the five short-distance markets, namely Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, long-distance markets like Turkey, Russia and Eastern Europe are enjoying greater popularity thanks to the implementation of “One Belt One Road” strategy, and this popularity is expected to continue in the years to come. Meanwhile, driven by the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Brazil and other South American countries are expected to become the new choices for Chinese tourists.
Based on tourists’ booking statistics, quite a few travel agencies all maintain that “Japan is the overseas market with the best performance this year, and one with the most promising future.” Next year, tourism routes to Japan offered by these agencies will spread all over Japan. With the implementation of the US’s new visa policy (10-year multi-entry), the number of Chinese tourists to the US for independent travels has grown remarkably. Therefore, the US is regarded as the most promising long-distance travel market.
UnionPay cards can be used conveniently in all these popular destinations, especially in the US where tourists can withdraw cash with UnionPay cards at almost all ATMs, and make signature credit card payments at 80% of merchants and PIN debit card payments at all merchants equipped with a PIN pad. Now, UnionPay credit cards issued by almost all national and regional banks in the Chinese mainland support signature payments. Cardholders can also contact the issuer to cancel the PIN before departure in order to ensure PIN-free payment can be made overseas.
UnionPay provides comprehensive and convenient services
urrently, tourists can not only make purchases conveniently with UnionPay cards in the destinations but also enjoy UnionPay card value-added services for booking and tax refund. In terms of booking, online merchants including Agoda and Booking all accept UnionPay cards for payments. Turkey’s well-known hotel booking website, otel.com, which has booking access to 250,000 hotels across the world, has recently realized UnionPay card acceptance. In addition, many international hotel groups including Four Seasons Hotels and Mandarin Oriental, as well as Emirates Airlines provide exclusive discounts for UnionPay cards to the end of next February.
UnionPay cards can also be used to withdraw cash at ATMs in major tourist destinations, saving tourists the trouble of carrying large amount of cash overseas. Now, the amount of foreign currency that can be withdrew with each domestically-issued UnionPay card is capped at RMB 100,000.00 per year. Tourists may make purchases with UnionPay credit cards, and they can also carry another UnionPay debit card for back-up. Thanks to the “40 global selected tourist destinations” program launched by UnionPay International, UnionPay cardholders are able to enjoy up to 15%-off discount at more than 300 merchants globally.
Cardholders can claim a tax refund via UnionPay cards when leaving the destination regardless of the payment method they used for purchase. UnionPay International has established cooperation with three major tax refund agencies, namely Global Blue, Premier Tax Free, and Tax Free Worldwide, in launching the UnionPay card overseas tax refund service in 37 countries and regions including Britain, Argentina, Australia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, and Malaysia, covering more than 300,000 merchants. In South Korea, tourists can get instant UnionPay card tax refund when making purchases at merchants cooperating with the local tax refund agencies like KTIS, and Global Tax Free. In Australia, tourists may significantly shorten the tax refund application process by downloading an APP called “TRS”, filling out a tax refund application form online in advance and choosing UnionPay credit card as the means of tax refund.
Currently, the overseas acceptance network of UnionPay card has expanded to over 150 countries and regions, covering all tourist destinations frequently visited by UnionPay cardholders. UnionPay cards are accepted at over 26 million merchants and 1.9 million ATMs worldwide. UnionPay cardholders are able to enjoy secure, convenient and cost-effective payment experiences in the major destinations as well as retailers, scenic spots, transportation and daily spending places.