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Coastal resort embraces surging Russian tourists


19:07, March 22, 2013

Russian tourists seek tropical beaches and get away from their country's winter chill in China's Sanya. (File Photo)

SANYA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Russian tourists are flocking to China's southernmost costal resort of Sanya in Hainan Province as they seek tropical beaches and get away from their country's winter chill.

The city of Sanya is the only tropical tourist destination in China, with annual average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius. It has seen a surge in Russian tourist numbers in recent years with about 190,000 in 2012, according to Zheng Conghui, Sanya Tourism Commission spokesman.

In 2006, the number of Russian tourists to Sanya was 84,000, less than half the figure of last year.

The 2012 figure of Russian visitors represented 42 percent of the city's total number of overseas tourists, which was 450,000.

The rise in the number of Russian tourists is thanks to various convenient policies as well as other factors, Zheng said.

Word-of-mouth recommendations among Russian visitors, increasing regular flights and tourist charter travel have all contributed to the surging inflow since 2007.

Airlines link Sanya Phoenix International Airport with 15 Russian cities, including Moscow, St Petersburg, Irkutsk and Vladivostok.

Russians are also taking advantage of a visa-free policy in Hainan that enables them to join tour groups and register with authorities just one day before their scheduled departure date.

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