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Hainan: China's tropical pearl builds international tourism consumption hub

By Sheng Chuyi, Liu Ning, Jeffrey Moeller, Li Yan (People's Daily Online)    18:39, June 03, 2019

In April 2018, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced the decision to develop Hainan, the southernmost island province of China, into a pilot free trade zone (FTZ). The announcement meant that Hainan would become China's first free trade port since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

Known for its beautiful beaches and coastline loaded with luxury resorts, Hainan is now in the process of upgrading its tourism and consumption infrastructure to develop itself into an international tourism hotspot, mainly driven by the construction of the Hainan FTZ.

Zhu Lian, Deputy Director of Hainan Pilot Free Trade Zone (Port) Working Committee Office, told People's Daily Online that the opening-up of the tourism industry in Hainan has been enhanced significantly.

According to statistics released by local authorities, in 2018, Hainan had 74 international air routes and operated nine international container shipping routes. As of March this year, 340,000 tourists from 59 visa-free countries had visited Hainan, up 13.9 percent year-on-year.

"The industry condition in Hainan is being enriched. Sports, tourism and cultural industries are deeply integrated. Art festivals, movie festivals, and marathons encourage a range of tourists from around the world to visit Hainan," Zhu added.

On April 12, Li Wujun, deputy general secretary of the People's Government of Sanya City, addressed the 3rd China International Tourism Industry Annual Conference. "In 2018, Sanya received 20.997 million overnight visitors, a year-on-year increase of 11 percent. The total tourism revenue reached 51.473 billion Chinese yuan, up 17 percent year-on-year. The Sanya municipal government has successively issued a series of policies to accelerate economic and social development, effectively driving the relevant industries with tourists as the consumption center," Li noted.

Zhou Anwei, Chief Planner of Hainan Provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television, and Sports, said that this year Hainan would increase the intensity of integration in the areas of culture, tourism, sports, medical care and consumption, and facilitate the construction of Hainan international tourism consumption center from different levels.

The Hainan Free Trade Zone Culture and Tourism Think Tank was also launched in Haikou this April, aiming to provide overall solutions for the development of Hainan's culture and tourism industry, research and promote the innovation and development of the industry, and boost the construction of Hainan international tourism island and international tourism consumption center.

Haitang Bay, Sanya, Hainan Province, China.(Photo: Liu Ning/People's Daily Online)

One example of Hainan's enhanced shopping facilities is the Sanya Duty-Free Mall on the southern tip of the island. Considered by many people as a shopper’s paradise, it attracts bargain hunters and luxury shoppers alike. Many international brands have chosen this mall to house their largest global tourism stores.

"Hainan’s offshore duty-free policy and the successful operation of Sanya Duty Free Mall could be a driving force for the construction of the FTZ and the island's establishment as an international tourism consumption center," Zhao Jing, Director Assistant of Marketing Department at the China Duty Free Mall, told People's Daily Online.

Another major factor in Hainan's tourism development comes in the form of new world-class hotels such as the Atlantis Sanya. Hotel guests can not only enjoy spectacular coastal views from their rooms, but also learn about marine life in the open-air aquariums and have fun in Asia’s largest water park, all within the hotel complex.

With many heavyweight family attractions and a beachside location, hotels like The Atlantis Sanya complement the FTZ in Hainan's attempt to raise its profile among both domestic and foreign visitors.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Liu Ning, Du Mingming)

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