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From borderline town to global travel destination

Print english.sanya.gov.cn Updated: 2019-04-29

Back in 1978, when reform and opening up was initiated, the city of Sanya was known as Ya County, part of the Li-Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Hainan in Guangdong Province. In May 1984, it was renamed Sanya city (county-level). In December 1987, it was upgraded to a prefecture-level city. In 1988, Hainan Island was designated as a special economic zone. Since then, Sanya has been on a fast track of development as a focal point in southern Hainan.


In 1989, the city proposed the development goal of becoming an international tropical coastal tourist city. In the past three decades, Sanya has been diligently working towards this goal. Since the inception of a special economic zone in Hainan, the province, including the city of Sanya, has adopted a series of key policies regarding deepening reform and opening up, such as opening of traffic rights, offshore duty-free policies and visa-free service for59 countries.


As of 2018, Sanya was home to39 world-class hotel brands. It also enjoyed wide recognition from home and abroad for offering travel attractions, including Nanshan Temple, End of the Earth (Tianya-Haijiao), Sanya Romance Park and Atlantis Sanya Hotel. Today, emerging cruise and yacht businesses, low-altitude tours, wedding tours, parent-child tours, conferences and exhibitions, are developing at escalated rates. The city has also hosted major events such as the Miss World Finals, the Volvo Ocean Race, the Clipper Race, the World Travel and Tourism Council and the Hainan International Tourism Trade Expo. It recently won the right to host the 6th Asian Beach Games as well. To support the development of the tourist industry, Sanya has put in place the first tourist police team in China. The city is on a right track to integrate global standards in many ways, be it in food, accommodation, travel, transport, shopping and entertainment.

In terms of urban planning, Sanya is devoted to enhancing urban functionalities, improving the urban environment, and upgrading overall quality, as evidenced by construction or completion of key infrastructure projects, such as the Phoenix International Airport, the Circumference Expressway, the Sanya Section of the Circumference High-speed Railway and the Phoenix Island International Cruise Terminal. A comprehensive infrastructure network is taking shape. Since June 2015, the city has been implementing the ecological recovery of the city project, which is intent on improving maritime, water, wetland, and mountain environments through proper planning and control in a city with outstanding ecological conditions. The forestation rate in Sanya is as high as 68 percent, the good-air day rate is over 99 percent, and first-class sea water quality is over 98percent.


Currently, as a modernized city of tropical appeal, Sanya is becoming a hot travel destination for tourists from all over the world.

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