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Boao full of promise for future growth in Hainan

By Huang Yiming and Zhang Yu'an in Boao, Hainan  (China Daily)

09:01, April 07, 2013

Development of the Hainan International Tourist Destination has moved onto the fast track, Executive Deputy Governor Tan Li of Hainan province announced here on Saturday.

In 2009, the island province was put on the list of national strategies for development as an International Tourist Destination.

Since then, a series of preferential policies, such as free visas for tourists from 26 countries and offshore duty-free shopping of up to 8,000 yuan ($1,290), have been granted to the province to boost its development and opening drive.

Last year, the province turned out more than 285.52 billion yuan in GDP, which was an increase of 55 percent over that of 2009, Tan said.

Faster economic growth has brought more revenue to the province. Last year, its revenue reached 40.94 billion yuan, a 95.8 percent jump compared with 2009.

This has enabled the local government to spend more on improving the livelihood of its people, such as education, healthcare, social security and housing, Tan said.

In the past three years, the province has been No 1 in growth of fixed-assets investment, averaging more than 32 percent annually. That is 12.5 percentage points higher than the country as a whole. Last year, the figure for Hainan's fixed-assets investment reached 214.53 billion yuan, Tan said.

Much of the investment went to construction of infrastructure - hotels, high-end commercial estates and tourism facilities - all expected to further improve the conditions of its tourism industry.

Now the province is embracing new opportunities for even faster development. In Lingshui on the southeastern part of the island province, a pioneering experiment zone has been approved for construction. In Boao, meanwhile, an international medical tourism pilot zone will be built.

Tan said that the Lingshui International Tourist Destination Pioneering Experiment Zone, approved by the provincial government in January, will have a planned area of 114.88 square kilometers. In about 10 years, it will be built into a model demonstration zone, a culture industry cluster and a world-class vacation resort.

Banks have offered loans totaling 62 billion yuan for construction of the zone.

Tan invited the world's top hotel corporations to have a presence there.

The Boao Lecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot Zone project will cover an area of more than 20 sq km, of which nearly half will be used for construction, said Jiang Sixian, a senior official of the province.

The State Council approved the medical tourism pilot zone in February.

By 2020, it is projected to be the country's first international medical tourism service zone and a low-carbon and ecological city. Planners hope the site will be a magnet for international organizations working in low-carbon and ecological development, medical tourism, health tourism and medical services.

Tan also pledged that the province would push forward on constructing key projects this year, including seven five-star hotels, a west coast high-speed railway, tourism expressways, Boao airport and roads related to the Wenchang satellite-launching center.

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