Germany promotes itself as a shopping destination to Chinese tourists
While Germany is most famous for its automobiles, football and beer, the country is doing its utmost to appeal to Chinese travelers as a destination for shopping.
The German National Tourist Board and Chinese mobile payment giant Alipay recently teamed up to hold the first German Shopping Festival to attract Chinese tourists to Germany to shop.
Using Alipay's app, shoppers who travel to Germany can browse different stores from a city map, read shopping tips in Chinese, receive electronic discount coupons and join in a lucky draw for exemption from paying their bills.
In some restaurants in Germany, tourists can use Alipay to scan QR codes and order food on smartphones, just like in China.
Last year, global market consultancy Nielsen and Alipay released a survey which showed that Chinese tourists used mobile payment overseas far more frequently than their non-Chinese counterparts, and over 90 percent of Chinese tourists would prefer to use mobile payment methods overseas if given the option.
It showed that during their most recent trips overseas, Chinese tourists spent an average of 762 U.S. dollars per person on shopping, far exceeding the spending by non-Chinese tourists (486 U.S. dollars). Duty-free shops, department stores and supermarkets ranked as the most popular shopping outlets for Chinese tourists.
GNTB's official data showed that China remains the second-largest overseas market that sees Germany as a travel destination after the United States. In 2018, the number of overnight stays by Chinese tourists in Germany was 3.02 million, an increase of 5.6 percent over 2017. Germany expects to have 5 million overnight stays by Chinese visitors by 2030.
When Chinese travelers return home after their holiday in Germany, they can use Alipay to apply for tax refunds via their smartphones, using a Chinese customs service. Also, the system is more efficient as people no longer have to wait in a line at a counter and it takes less time to get the refunds. The service is provided by Germany-based Travel Easy Group.
According to Travel Easy Group, in 2018, Chinese travelers spent 150 billion yuan (21.8 billion U.S. dollars) in total on their travels in Europe, nearly half of which was on on-site shopping. The number is expected to hit 200 billion yuan by 2020. Among those who traveled to Europe, about half said tax-free shopping was very appealing to them.