Merlin partners with Alipay to open up London tourist attractions to Chinese visitors

Tyrone Stewart

London EyeMerlin Entertainments – the owner of the London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Thorpe Park, and Legoland, among other international attractions – has penned a deal with Alibaba’s mobile payment platform, Alipay, to enable Chinese tourists to make payments when visiting London attractions.

The partnership will enable Chinese visitors to the UK capital to use their Alipay lifestyle app at Merlin locations including the aforementioned London Eye and Madame Tussauds, as well as the London Eye River Cruise, Sea Life London, and the London Dungeon. This means that Chinese tourists will be able to purchase tickets and souvenirs in their home currency, and will also be given discounts at each attraction, thanks to an e-coupon they will receive upon booking their flights to London.

“Merlin Entertainments is dedicated to ensuring that all visitors have the most enjoyable experience possible,” said Dominique Sidley, global trade strategy director at Merlin. “By partnering with Alipay, we can help Chinese tourists to feel more at home when visiting London and our attractions in the city.”

As part of the link up, Merlin will also send push notifications through the Alipay app to help Chinese visitors find attractions and provide them with personalised promotional information. Furthermore, those on the higher Alipay membership level will receive favourable foreign exchange rates.

Merlin joins the likes of Harrods, Selfridges, Holland and Barrett, and Heathrow Airport in enabling Chinese tourists to pay through their Alipay app in the UK.

“Alipay is focused on enabling Chinese tourists to experience seamless travel – from the moment they book their flight, through to their transport, shopping, eating and entertainment during their trip,” said Tao Tao, business development director EMEA for Alipay. “We’ve made great progress in the retail space, with leading brands across Europe embracing the opportunity to better cater to the lucrative Chinese tourism market. This partnership with Merlin marks a significant step into the attractions and entertainment space for Alipay.”