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Sanya outlines plans to further build up its tourism credentials

Print By Chen Bowen in Haikou | China Daily Global Updated: 2022-12-12

An aerial photo of a riverside park in Sanya, Hainan province. [Photo/China Daily]

The government in Sanya, Hainan province, has laid out 117 key projects to turn the city into a "national leading tourist destination with great international influence", and to promote the high-quality development of local tourism, according to the Sanya Construction of International Tourist Resort Plan (2022-2035).

With an investment of about 138.5 billion yuan ($19.8 billion), the plan is to turn the coastal city in South China into an international tourist destination by 2025.

"Sanya has enormous tourism potential," said Russian expat Sergei Orlov, a 35-year-old entrepreneur and travel marketer in the city. "I think with this plan and the improvements it introduces, Sanya and Hainan province will become one of the best places to vacation, and it will create more business opportunities for Sanya residents."

The city aims to attract innovative global tourism, optimize its offerings, and extend and integrate the sector to encourage high-quality consumption.

"The Sanya International Tourist Resort is scheduled to be completed by 2035, by which time the city should become a top tourist destination in China and the world," the plan said.

It proposes that the Sanya government maintain an index to help it keep track of the city's tourism development.

The index will rate tourist venues, including sites, hotels and restaurants, based on their attractiveness, development potential, influence, convenience and friendliness.

It also outlines a "one core, two axes and three belts" layout for the city that is based on three distinct clusters.

"One core" refers to the central area of Sanya as the core of the international tourist destination.

"Two axes" refers to the construction of a trendy tourism area — where visitors can stay and shop for more fashionable items — in the eastern part of the city, and an area focused more on cultural tourism in the western part.

"Three belts" refers to the development of a coastal experience tourism belt based around boutique cruise ships, yachts, marine therapies, and coastal leisure; a leisure vacation belt focused on shopping, villages, weddings, sports and healthcare; and a cultural themed belt mainly focused on sightseeing, leisure, food, science, education and research.

Xu Wei, president of the Sanya Wedding Tourism Industry, expressed his excitement over what he called the "tourism plus "trend for the city, under which visitors would be attracted to the area as tourists, and also to participate in events. "One out of every 20 tourists already comes to attend a wedding," Xu said. "This is one of the most significant changes to Sanya's tourism market over the past 10 years."

"Tourism plus" is a win-win, he said. It ensures that visitors demands are met, and the money they spend can then be used to help upgrade Sanya's tourism sector, which will then be even more able to diversify its offerings and appeal.

According to the Hainan Island International Design Industrial Development Plan, the projections for the sector are that it should be worth 100 billion yuan by 2035.

In terms of cultural tourism, the plan mentioned that when relying on key zones such as the Sanya Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City and the Haikou Future Industrial Park, it is necessary to explore local cultural resources and come up with fresh development models and formats.

According to the Sanya Tourism, Culture, Radio, Film and Television Sports Bureau, there were 2.1 million overnight tourists in July, generating revenues of 7.1 billion yuan that month, a year-on-year increase of 6.8 percent.

To stimulate the domestic tourism market, the bureau announced that it would issue 53 million coupons across the country, covering Hainan hotels, scenic spots, flight tickets and shopping.

The Sanya Phoenix International Airport has 62,000 flights and 104 domestic routes planned for the winter and spring periods. Eight new routes have been added — from Foshan in Guangdong province, Heze in Shandong province, Xiangfan in Hubei province, Xuzhou in Jiangsu province, Hengyang and Yueyang in Hunan province, and Handan and Zhangjiakou in Hebei province. Tourists can fly into Hainan from 79 locations on the mainland.

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