Visiting Tourists to the United Arab Emirates Can Use Their Home E-Wallets with Ease
Astra Tech, a Dubai-based technology-focused investment company backed by Abu Dhabi's G42, has partnered with Alibaba's Ant Group to facilitate seamless shopping and payment experiences for tourists visiting the UAE.
Through this collaboration, tourists can utilize their home e-wallets, eliminating concerns about foreign currency conversions.
The integration of Ant Group's Alipay platform with Astra Tech's PayBy merchant network will allow over 1.4 billion wallet users to make transactions in their native currencies.
This service will cover Abu Dhabi's taxi fleet of nearly 7,000 vehicles and over 3,000 retail merchants across the UAE, starting this month.
“Our milestone collaboration with Alipay aligns perfectly with the UAE's commitment to enhancing the payment ecosystem and fostering a commerce-friendly environment,” said Abdallah Abu Sheikh, co-founder of Astra Tech and CEO of Botim.
The UAE, aiming to boost its tourism sector, is launching a new service targeting tourists from several countries including China, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Italy.
This service will facilitate payments through native e-wallets like Alipay, MPay, Kakao Pay, GCash, TrueMoney, and Tinaba.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, highlighted a 70% increase in tourist spending in 2022, reaching Dh121 billion ($33 billion).
The UAE aspires to attract 40 million tourists within seven years and elevate the tourism sector's GDP contribution to Dh450 billion.
The FIS Global Payments Report 2023 notes a surge in digital payments due to the pandemic, with credit cards being the popular choice for e-commerce transactions in the UAE, followed by digital wallets constituting 24% of transaction values, up from 23% in 2021.
(Felicity Glover / The National)