Far North Queensland (FNQ) tourism operators got together recently to hear more about the potential and practicalities of adopting one of China’s largest online payment systems.

Around 70 accommodation providers, tour operators and other businesses attended the ‘Doing Business with Alibaba’ workshop in Cairns in late August, where they were briefed by speakers from Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online and mobile ecommerce company.

A key topic was the use of Alibaba’s Alipay, a PayPal-like system used by millions of Chinese people for cashless transactions using Chinese currency around the world.

Principal Trade and Investment Officer for FNQ Trent Scott said many local tourism operators were already using Alipay, but there was still great potential for adoption and promotion.

‘We already have more than 100 registered Alipay businesses in the Cairns/Far North Queensland region, but there’s potential for many more to get involved,’ he said.

‘Having a system like Alipay in place makes it easier and more inviting for Chinese visitors to spend their tourism dollars with Queensland businesses.

‘This workshop was an opportunity for businesses to really understand the technology involved, and to ask questions about practical issues such as integration with other accounting systems, how to promote Alipay access to Chinese visitors, and how the system can work in regional areas where wi-fi performance may be slow.’

Mr Scott said the Alipay speakers also learned a lot from the session, and indicated they were keen to visit Cairns again to show businesses how Alipay services and campaigns could be used to attract consumers.

As well as discussing Alipay, the Alibaba speakers outlined opportunities to sell to Chinese consumers through Alibaba’s Tmall Global online retail shopfronts.

The workshop was held in Cairns on Friday 24 August, and was hosted by Cairns Regional Council with support from TIQ, Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Alibaba Group.

Participants also heard a presentation from Incentiapay, an Asia-Pacific payment-solutions company that can help Australian businesses adopt Alipay.

TIQ ran an earlier series of ecommerce workshops with Alibaba last year in other Queensland regions.

Providing ecommerce training for SMEs is one of 22 initiatives outlined in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.