A new marketing partnership between Tourism Industry Aotearoa and PayPlus NZ will give New Zealand tourism operators direct access to the huge Chinese visitor market through WeChat, a powerful social media mobile app.

WeChat is one of the most popular messaging and social media apps in China, with 938 million monthly active users – 94% of who use the mobile app daily – and 600 million payment transactions per day globally.

“We are delighted to announce PayPlus as our preferred WeChat service provider,” says TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts.

“This influential mobile app allows New Zealand tourism operators to market and sell directly to Chinese consumers, helping them grow this important market.

“WeChat also significantly enhances the Chinese visitor experience, as travellers can make payments using the mobile app before they arrive here and while they are in the country.”

China has grown rapidly to become New Zealand’s second largest tourism market in terms of both visitor arrivals and spend. In the year to June 2017, Chinese visitors spent $1.5 billion, with total arrivals of almost 400,000. The Government is forecasting it will become New Zealand’s largest tourism market by spend (surpassing Australia) over the next five years.

As the market is maturing, it is also undergoing a shift away from tour groups to free, independent travel, which is also seeing Chinese visitors travelling beyond the main visitor centres.

PayPlus’ Directors Sean Zhao and Simon Rouse say Chinese consumers have a big appetite for accessing information via mobile technology and having access to WeChat is key to delivering a visitor experience that matches their expectations.

“WeChat is the most heavily used app in China. It’s sometimes referred to as the ‘Swiss army knife’ app because of its all-inclusive functionality, combining everything from messaging, chat, phone calls, payment systems and e-commerce.

“By using WeChat, New Zealand tourism operators can offer Chinese visitors the opportunity to engage, learn, explore and pay for things in the same way they do in China.

“Another benefit for business owners is the option to have dollar for dollar settlement on WeChat Pay transactions.”

Chris Roberts said as part of the PayPlus marketing partnership, TIA will receive insight into Chinese consumer preferences, which will be extremely useful to small and medium sized members in particular.

And, as an exclusive offer to TIA members who sign up for WeChat Pay* before 30 November 2017, PayPlus will waive the set-up fee and will not charge monthly fees for the duration of the relationship.

Visit the TIA website for more information.