MONCTON (GNB) – The provincial government aims to make New Brunswick a more attractive destination for Chinese visitors by supporting the introduction of two of that country’s most prominent mobile payment platforms, Alipay and WeChat Pay, at tourism attractions around the province.

“We have been working hard to promote New Brunswick to the Chinese leisure travel market and are proud to be part of an initiative that will advance New Brunswick as a prospective destination for the growing Chinese travel market in Canada,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “Alipay and WeChat align with our government’s multi-year economic growth plan to leverage technology, products and innovation in order to grow tourism in the province.”

Rogers spoke on behalf of Tourism, Heritage and Culture Minister John Ames.

As mobile payment applications grow in popularity, the introduction of WeChat Pay and Alipay has been championed by the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick and Motion Pay, which is a technology company that provides Canadian businesses access to such payment platforms. The goal is to allow tourism operators to better attract and accommodate the growing Chinese travel market.

Alipay and WeChat Pay will be available at several attractions in the province during the 2018 tourism season. This year has been designated as the Canada-China Year of Tourism.

“With 10 million Chinese travellers expected to visit Canada this year, and all of the efforts that have gone into promoting New Brunswick in that market, it is a chance of a lifetime to attract a sizable number of Chinese travellers to our province,” said Ronald Drisdelle, president and CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick. “The opportunities that stem from this are endless. The association takes every opportunity to serve our members well, and our partnership with Motion Pay is a perfect example of how we go about it.”

China is now the second-largest overseas market for travellers coming to Canada. Between January and October 2017, more than 600,000 Chinese tourists visited Canada, an increase of 10 per cent over the previous year.

“Motion Pay’s mobile payment solution provides a seamless payment experience to Chinese tourists,” said Motion Pay executive director Eric Paquet. “By partnering with the Tourism Industry Association of New Brunswick, Motion Pay is confident this will help to drive more traveller traffic among New Brunswick's tourism businesses.”

The New Brunswick Tourism Growth Strategy will invest $100 million in tourism over the next eight years, with a goal of growing tourism-related GDP to $2 billion by 2025. Tourism has been identified as a key opportunity for growth in the New Brunswick Economic Growth Plan. Tourism visitor spending is estimated at $1.3 billion, making it the third-largest service sector in the province.