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Sansha taking shape with projects (3)

By  HUANG YIMING and WANG QIAN in Haikou  (China Daily)

09:34, January 28, 2013

Besides infrastructure construction, local authorities will further develop the marine economy in the South China Sea this year.

According to the report released by the provincial development and reform commission on Monday, a South China Sea fishing fleet will be established with 200 fishing boats to fish in the waters surrounding Sansha.

For Lu Zhiyuan, director of the provincial tourism administration, tourism in Sansha is crucial in the province's economy growth.

"We are busy preparing to open tourism in Sansha, and cruise tours are likely to be the main choice," Lu said, adding the cruise routes have been mapped out.

Cruises can minimize visitors' damage to the environment, which is important for Sansha, he added.

Hainan welcomed more than 33 million visitors who stayed for at least one night in 2012.

In addition to tourism, the city also plans to develop oil and gas industries to drive its economy.

Sansha was established in late July to administer more than 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs in the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and the 2 million sq km of surrounding waters.

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