Sentosa is now Singapore’s first major tourist destination to offer cashless payment – and it’s all to make the burgeoning number of tourists from China feel more at home.
The self-styled ‘State of Fun’ announced on Wednesday (Jan 23) that Alipay – Alibaba’s online payment method, used widely across mainland China – will now be offered at most of the island’s main attractions, which include the Adventure Cove, the S.E.A Aquarium, Universal Studios, and the Trick Eye Museum.
Under the initiative – a collaboration between Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), the Singapore Tourism Board and Alipay – 70 per cent of the merchants on Sentosa’s Islander Membership programme will have Alipay as a payment option.
Most of the island’s 30 themed attractions, 15 hotels, and 200 eateries and shopping outlets fall under the programme.
“The Alipay payment service, which is popular with Chinese users, is entering Sentosa at a time when China is growing in importance as a key source market for Singapore,” Sentosa said in a statement.
According to the SDC, 19 million locals and tourists visit Sentosa every year. A spokesperson told Business Insider that between March 2018 and April 2017, 11 per cent of tourists to Sentosa were from China.
Alipay’s general manager of cross-border business for South and Southeast Asia, Cherry Huang, added that Sentosa in particular was a “favorite attraction” for Chinese visitors and business delegates.
Having Alipay available would provide these visitors “the same seamless payment experiences that they enjoy at home”, she added.
Discounted Sentosa Islander memberships will also be sold on Alipay, Taobao, Tmall and Fliggy – Alipay’s online travel platform – over the Chinese New Year period, which is among the “key travel periods for Chinese visitors”, Sentosa said.
A membership offers tourists free entry into Sentosa, and discounted food, shopping and hotel stays.