Ant Group, the operator of Alipay+, the global cross-border digital payments and marketing solution, announced on Tuesday that a total of four mobile wallets are now accepted in the Philippines.

These include AlipayHK (Hong Kong), Kakao Pay (South Korea), Touch ‘n Go eWallet (Malaysia) and Alipay (China), which has been accepted by Filipino merchants since 2017. This enables travellers from these regions to enjoy a cashless experience, using just their home mobile wallets to make payment, improving the travel experience as digital payment options like mobile wallets become the norm for day-to-day transactions, the company said in a statement.

The acceptance of three new mobile wallets, via Alipay+, comes as travellers return to the Philippines. According to the Department of Tourism (DOT), more than three million tourists have visited the Philippines from Jan 1 to July 19, 2023, reflecting continued robust recovery.

The DOT said that inbound tourism receipts from January 1 to June 30, 2023, are more than 500 percent higher than the same period last year. South Koreans top the list of international visitors to the Philippines, while Malaysia ranks in the top 10.

Alipay+ is currently accepted by merchants in Manila and Cebu, the top two most visited cities in the Philippines pre-pandemic in 2019. In the first half of 2023, Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) saw a 219 percent increase in passengers compared to the same period last year. In order to cater to the new expectations of digital-first travellers, the airport has integrated Alipay+ across 90 percent of its merchants, ensuring that tourists can enjoy a digitally-enhanced cashless experience from the moment they arrive in Cebu.

Athanasios Titonis, Aboitiz InfraCapital Chief Executive Officer assigned to MCIA, said “The integration of Alipay+ gives our passengers that exceptional convenience and more payment options when they travel through MCIA.”

MCIA is the second largest airport in the Philippines with over 11 million passengers annually, making it the second busiest airport in the country. The airport aims to establish itself as the main tourism gateway of the country with exceptional travel experience, connecting the world to the Philippines. To date, MCIA is the first and only airport in the Philippines to receive the Airport Customer Experience (ACX) accreditation from the Airports Council International.

Dr. Cherry Huang, General Manager of Alipay+ Offline Merchant Services at Ant Group, said, “Philippines and its many islands, such as Cebu, have long been a favourite destination for Asian travellers and we look forward to working with our local partners to enhance their travel experience. We believe that digital adoption and solutions will shape travellers’ expectations, particularly in the way the engage travel-related businesses, from airports and hospitality to F&B and retail stores. Our focus now is to work with more partners to onboard more merchants with Alipay+ across the Philippines, particularly local small businesses, and promote digital travel and travel recovery.”

Introduced by Ant Group in 2020, Alipay+ aims to enable local businesses, especially small and medium-sized businesses, to process a wide range of mobile payment methods and reach more than 1.4 billion regional and global consumers, through one-time integration and simple technical adaption. In addition to the Philippines, Alipay+ is also widely accepted in destinations including the Chinese mainland, Macao, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea among others.

Ant Group is the owner and operator of Alipay, a leading digital payment platform in China serving hundreds of millions of users, and connecting them with merchants and partner financial institutions that offer financial services and digital daily life services such as food delivery, transport, entertainment, and healthcare.