Costa offers WeChat for duty free shopping on Chinese cruises

Costa Cruises is launching a WeChat payment service onboard its fleet in China. It allows Chinese guests to use the online social communication platform to enjoy hassle-free mobile payment options, including duty free shopping – claimed to be a first for the global cruise industry.

The WeChat service (also known as Weixin in China) launched on 2 September 2017 onboard Costa Atlantica. The integrated platform for instant messaging, commerce and payment services from Tencent Holdings, has over 963 million monthly active users.

Chinese guests can use the online social communication platform to enjoy hassle-free mobile payment options, including duty free shopping.

Costa – one of ten brands from Carnival Corporation – initially launched a WeChat Mini Program in August to book and pay for cruise itineraries. This latest addition extends payments to onboard duty free shopping, restaurants, spa, and other services through a complimentary intranet service.

Costa Group Asia President Mario Zanetti said: “With China being one of the world’s leaders in mobile and digital advancements, we see great potential in leveraging WeChat’s leading position and technologies (and) also provide a more immersive and digitised onboard experience for our guests.”

Costa Cruises claims it was the brand “that brought cruising to China in 2006” and is the leader in the Chinese cruise market today. Costa Cruises operates year-round in the Chinese market and has provided cruise vacations for over two million Chinese guests through four ships based across north, east and south China.

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