Tourism Toronto announced today a new strategic partnership with OTT Financial Group that introduces the Chinese mobile payment service, WeChat Pay and Alipay, into local tourism businesses to boost travel and shopping consumption by Chinese travellers. WeChat is China’s largest mobile messenger app with 840 million active users who can use the app to buy products and book travel. OTT is working with Tourism Toronto to set up the mobile payment infrastructure, making it the first partnership of its kind in Canada.
“We are thrilled to partner with OTT to introduce the Chinese mobile payment service WeChat Pay to Canada,” said Johanne Belanger, President and CEO of Tourism Toronto. “Our partnership will allow us to strengthen our role as a global leader in innovation among the Chinese market.”
China is the largest overseas tourism market for Toronto, which has almost tripled since 2010. In 2016 Toronto saw more than 300,000 visitors, who spent an estimated $275 million in the region.
“We are very excited to be working with Toronto Tourism. Toronto is such a welcoming city for Chinese immigrants, travellers and students it’s only natural for it to be at the forefront of bringing the WeChat Pay platform to Canada,” said Kevin Zhang, President and CEO of OTT Financial Group. “Through our partnership with Toronto Tourism OTT will help Toronto increase its engagement and commerce with Chinese travellers by helping promote its brand, attractions and services the great city has to offer.”
The announcement of WeChat Pay and Alipay comes on the heels of several large Chinese incentive groups by Tourism Toronto with support from the Government of Ontario who will collectively bring more than 11,000 travellers to Toronto and Ontario, as well as visitor spending of nearly $44 million.
“Through this agreement, Chinese tourists, while visiting Ontario, will be able to pay for products and services directly in Renminbi from their WeChat Pay or Alipay app on their mobile phones,” said Hon Michael Chan, Ontario’s Minister of International Trade. “Congratulations to both OTT Pay and Tourism Toronto on finding innovative and efficient ways to position Ontario as a destination of choice for tourists from China.”