Contactless payment methods are becoming increasingly popular throughout the hospitality sector, and for good reason. They embrace some of the most cutting-edge technology while providing guests with a more user-friendly experience.
Avanthi Colombage, Country Manager, Sri Lanka and Maldives, Visa said: “When a tourist visits a new country, they experience various purchase touchpoints – for accommodation, dining and shopping but also for telecom needs, transport, sightseeing, etc. And the process of making payments for these should not be of concern. For instance, contactless payments are accepted in most countries and tourists will expect the same ease of tapping to pay even in Sri Lanka.”
Today’s savvy traveller looks for experiential travel beyond the famous hotspots, seeking connections with the local community, through closer interactions that define their travel experiences. 66% people surveyed by the Sustainable Travel Report 2022 seek ‘authentic’ experiences that give insights into local culture and customs, away from commonly visited tourist attractions. This experience can be simplified by enabling them to simply tap their card, issued in their home country, at any POS terminal across Sri Lanka, eliminating the need of cash.
Further, consumers expect access to services anytime, anywhere, necessitating that cashless transactions are enabled seamlessly across the country. As people start to make sustainable travel a conscious choice, the use of low carbon emission transport, electric rental cars and public transport are likely to increase in holiday destinations, where digital payments could take the lead.
Avanthi said: “Every card issued by Visa in Sri Lanka today is a contactless card, so cardholders can pay for various purchases by tapping. The increase of contactless transaction limits by the payment industry in Sri Lanka is a significant move, enabling consumers to tap their card without of a signature or PIN for purchases up to LKR25,000. We believe that while local consumers will adapt to contactless payments even faster as they get accustomed to it, tourists will find more convenience and confidence in making contactless payments which they are already familiar with.”
The potential for Sri Lanka as a tourist destination continues to grow. It was featured among the top 10 most Instagrammable Places in 2023, top 10 places to visit as per Forbes and the potential of MICE events is also increasing. Initiatives such as the Tourism Investor Forum and the active promotion of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination will further aid this growth.
All these developments necessitate seamless, secure payments. “The more Sri Lanka enhances its appeal as a top-notch tourist destination, the more important it is to ensure safe, convenient payment options across in-store purchases, ecommerce and experiential travel. Payment acceptance via cards and digital credentials hence becomes a vital area of focus,” Avanti said.
In many countries, contactless payments have aided consumer trust as the card does not leave the hands of the consumer. It makes transactions and money management efficient and empowers the ecosystem. With more and more consumers and businesses choosing to go digital, and with more inbound tourists, the future of cashless payments in Sri Lanka also looks set to grow and become an enabler for growth.
“Ensuring an up-to-date, safe and secure environment for cashless transactions is a critical part of powering a digital economy. As digital transactions continue to grow, improving, enhancing and investing in payment security will support this growth. We are positive that these moves will go a long way in ensuring the robust growth of Sri Lanka as a tourist destination of choice,” Avanti said.