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Top tips to ensuring you maximise the tourism boom this winter

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According to analysts at the Economist Intelligence Unit, global travel in 2023 is likely to increase by 30% and the Consumer Index Report for Q1 2023 released by flight tracking platform Hopper shows international trips now account for 56% of searches by US travellers, 46% up on last year.

For merchants this means the potential exists to tap into a more lucrative market of inbound tourists. We’ve partnered with the Discover® Global Network to offer these top tips for reaping the significant available from travelling tourists.

1. Ensure you are offering an optimal customer experience with clear payments method signage

Merchants who may not have had traffic from tourists pre-pandemic must be well prepared for the new influx. Those merchants who are in popular destinations should ensure they offer a variety of payment methods given the rapid adoption of new payment methods during the pandemic.

A C+R Research Study of 1,479 Discover® Global Network cardholders from July 2022 commissioned by DFS Services LLC found that 74% of cardholders look for signage before paying. Displaying acceptance signage is therefore a helpful way to welcome tourists and their business and flag to consumers that they can use their preferred payment method because you’re offering acceptance of all card types.

good customer experience

2. Make sure you are mobile friendly with your contactless payment options

Enabling the latest mobile payment options is an easy way for smaller merchants to speed up the transaction process and increase customer satisfaction. For those in marketplaces, tap on mobile, for example, provides security and encryption on par with EMV and is a low-maintenance and low-cost option for EMV-compliant platform, plus it enables more secure chip-base contact and contactless payments.

Merchants will stand to benefit by offering travellers more control over their payment choices, allowing them greater ability to keep expenses within budget and offering security and peace of mind when they are enjoying their vacation.

3. Be aware of geographic trends that can inform who your customers might be

Hotels, convenience stores, retail and restaurants in these areas will want to create seamless checkout experiences to speed up the transaction process for customers on the go. There are lots of research studies that can help you understand where tourists are flying in for and what they might be looking for based on those trends. For instance:

  • Merchants in Canada and Mexico can prepare for more cross-border travel from the US: Hotels will want to offer solutions like pre-check in and post check out payment options that can be easily managed via an app or self-serve kiosk. Offering pay and ship options, in app payments and technology like zero-checkout, where customers choose their goods and do not have to interact with a cashier or kiosk would also be useful.
  • Euromonitor offers analyst reports on Tourism flows, for example:
    • US travel to Canada is forecasted to grow 56% from 2022 to 2027 and will remain the top country for arrivals to Canada, due to proximity.
    • In Spain, increased tourism is expected to continue and reach 89 million by 2027.
  • Merchants will also want to prepare for more off-season visitors. Fewer consumers are traveling at peak times to save money given rising costs as explore in this CNN write-up.
  • Merchants in China and international merchants welcoming Chinese tourists should double down on efforts for tourists after 2023 saw most of its travel restrictions lifted – the day after those restriction lifts were announced, one of China’s biggest booking platforms. saw abroad bookings jump 250%.
online customer using travel booking website

4. Luxury purchases abroad will rise following pandemic restriction lifts

With the world population on the move once more, the potential for travel-based tax breaks will lead to a boom in elite shopping experiences from international tourists looking to enjoy luxuries that are cheaper than at home. These luxury establishments will likely see a tangential increase in traffic and should also be considering how to adapt to both payment and cultural trends.

Merchants can capture more spend from cash-savvy international travellers by accepting at least one form of payment they carry and offering digitised payment experiences.  With the return of tourists from Asia-Pacific in particular, competition for their spending in travel corridors and amongst global merchants will be high. Merchants willing to offer them a familiar experience may help win their favour.

5. Offer brand experiences that keeps tourists connected wherever they are

The post-pandemic world comes with previously unforeseen needs and behaviours, especially when it comes to tourism. Now is the time to prepare for every potential challenge the influx presents.

Merchants who have stayed up to date on how technologies have been developed, and have in turn implemented them, will have an advantage. Discover does this in many ways. For instance, as a part of our Premium Global Card program, Diners Club International® offers access to more than 1,300 airport lounges in over 140 countries and territories around the world. Travellers can escape busy airport terminals and get work done or just unwind before their flight. It also offers access to over 45 million WiFi hotspots around the world.

discover global network accept more cards

6. Be aware of global card alliances you may be able to accommodates

Tourists may want to pay with their international card but not recognise that their card is accepted because they are unaware of payment alliances under a different logo. For example, Discover Global Network has 25+ global alliances with other networks, issuers and payments organisations that help to collectively expand its reach and open acceptance to millions of global cardholders. This includes Elo in Brazil, Troy in Turkey, RuPay in India and many more.

Familiarity with all these alliance members belonging to card issuers will help with accepting more payments from more tourists and ensure you are truly benefiting from the full extent of the Discover Global Network.

Learn more about how Discover Global Network and Trust Payments are working together at

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