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800,000 overseas tourists visit Hainan in 2011

(Xinhua)

16:56, December 29, 2011

HAIKOU, Dec. 29, (Xinhua) -- China's southernmost island province of Hainan is estimated to have received more than 800,000 overseas tourists this year, according to a local tourism official.

Russian tourists were a major group traveling to the island's resorts to enjoy tropical sceneries this year, with a record high of 200,000 in the past eleven months, up 51.9 percent year-on-year, said Sun Ying, deputy head of the Hainan Provincial Tourism Commission.

Tourists from Europe and America reached 390,000 and 40,000, respectively, each showing growth over 20 percent, Sun said.

Meanwhile, with 13 direct round-trip flights between Hainan and Taiwan available each week, the number of tourists from Taiwan exceeded 100,000 this year.

The increase in overseas tourists has been partly attributed to the visa-free entry policy. Travelers from 26 countries, including Russia, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Malaysia, can join tour groups and register with authorities just one day ahead of their scheduled departure times.

Hainan has recently been building itself into a world-class travel destination, and tourism revenues have been bolstered by the increased number of tourists. Revenues this year are estimated to total around 32 billion yuan (5.06 billion U.S. dollars), according to statistics from the provincial tourism commission.

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