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    Ge Huayong: Technological Innovation Drives Secure and Healthy Development of the Travel Industry

    On Apr. 18 local time, Mr. Ge Huayong, Chairman of China UnionPay attended the 18th Global Summit of World Travel & Tourism Council in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, and was invited to give a speech entitled “Technological Innovation Drives Secure and Healthy Development of the Travel Industry”. During the summit, Mr. Ge met with Head of WTTC, tourism ministers of the participating countries, and the leaders of global hotel groups, cruise groups and retail groups. They made in-depth communications on promoting the UnionPay business.

    In his speech, Ge Huayong said that technological innovation has helped people enjoy convenient and secure travel experiences. High-speed railways and aviation networks are developed rapidly to shorten the time it takes to travel between cities; high-speed mobile Internet is helping travelers browse, make reservation or buy tickets anywhere, anytime; facial recognition technology enables travelers to go through self-service border checks using eVisas and e-Passports. Rising penetration of e-commerce and mobile payments provide travelers with more shopping options and smoother payment experiences: travelers may use IC chip cards and mobile devices to make faster payments, while biometrics technology improves the speed of checkout in the meantime of ensuring transaction security; token technology helps financial institutions better protect the security of travelers’ funds.

    Ge Huayong points out that, in the future, technological innovation will further expand growth headroom for tourism. Big data analysis and cross-reference capabilities will help governments and businesses to formulate tourism development plans more effectively, and to develop more attractive tourism projects. Financial institutions will also leverage on big data to offer real-time, all-around protection for customers’ funds as they travel. Self-driving cars and in-vehicle connected devices will help allocate transportation resources more effectively, alleviate traffic congestion and parking difficulties, in addition to provide entertainment on the road. In scenic spots, sight-seers will pass admission gates after automatic verification using facial recognition, and experience extra fun with robot tour guides.

    He further advocates that governments should promote wider application of technology in the travel industry, encourage business collaboration at a larger scope, and step up opening data with privacy protection as a prerequisite. The travel industry should strengthen ties with the science and technology community, invest more resources to accelerate R&D, and provide richer, smoother and diverse travel services. With joint efforts of governments, travel industry practitioners, technologists and everyone together, we will build a more secure, open and diverse global travel market.

    As a forum of business leaders in the global tourism industry, WTTC’s summits rank to be one of the highest-level meetings of global leaders of tourism industry at present. In September 2017, UnionPay International officially became an industry partner of WTTC. When talking with Ms. Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of WTTC, Ge Huayong said, WTTC has provided UnionPay with the platform to communicate with the travel industry, and UnionPay will establish more extensive cooperation with WTTC members.

    In addition, Ge Huayong introduced the development of UnionPay to Mr. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism in Jamaica. He hoped that the Jamaican government could offer support for UnionPay’s expansion and localization in the country. In his discussion with Mr. Arnold W Donald, President and CEO of Carnival Cruise Group, Ge expressed UnionPay’s wish to further improve its acceptance on the Carnival cruises, as well as to carry out joint marketing campaigns for mutual benefits. Mr. Ge also reached consensus with Ms. Desirée Bollier, Board Director and General Manager of Value Retail, on cooperation in fields of marketing campaigns and brand promotion, etc.

    China has been the world’s largest tourist source market for several consecutive years. As an international bankcard brand, UnionPay has extended its acceptance network to 168 countries and regions, covering over 23 million merchant locations and 1.64 million ATMs outside the Chinese Mainland. Over the past few years, UnionPay has been dedicated to promoting Fintech innovation, rolling out its mobile QuickPass and QR code payment globally, to better meet tourists’ diverse cross-border payment demands.

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