Sanya once takes int’l spotlight for 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race
South China’s tropical island, Hainan province, will once again take the international stage after it was chosen as one of the 10 stops for the Volvo Ocean Race.
Sanya, in Hainan province, beat 82 bidding cities to win the role as the fourth stop along the racing route following Alicante, Cape Town and Abu Dhabi.
The sailing team is scheduled to reach the city in late January 2015 and depart in February.
The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier offshore race, an exceptional test of sailing prowess and human endeavor. It is known as the "Mount Qomolangma of sailing".
The race’s 2014-15 season started in October in Spain and will last nine months.
Seven teams will visit 11 ports on five continents on their way to the final stopover in Gothenburg, Sweden in June 2015.
The teams are from Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, China, the Netherlands, Spain, Denmark and a joint team from the United States and Turkey.
This season, for the first time, all teams are using the same kind of boat and an all-female team, which was the first in the international event’s history, made their debut.
Each stopover port has a race village pavilion, managed by the event sponsor, the Volvo Group companies. It offers the public and corporate guests insights into the brand and its various products.
Last season, the pavilion in Sanya attracted more than 200,000 tourists, nearly 15,000 of which visited the city because of the race. It also generated 200 million yuan ($32.23 million) in yacht sales.
Tom Touber, chief operating officer of the Volvo Ocean Race, said Sanya had top natural resources and climatic conditions, as well as complete port facilities, which laid the foundations for the smooth operation of the event.
He said the Volvo Ocean Race hoped to further cooperate with Sanya’s government.
A government spokesman expressed the same hope and said the event was a good opportunity to help Sanya progress in its development of the marine tourist industry.
Sanya added to its appeal by hosting several international competitions and conferences in recent years.
These included the Miss World final, the Triathlon World Championships, the TCL Classic, the Sanya Beach Music Festival and international wedding festivals.
The events introduced new trends, fashions and lifestyles to the city and enhanced its level of internationalism, local officials said.
In October, Sanya held the 2014 Red Bull World Bridge Series, which attracted more than 1,400 participants from 56 countries and regions.
It was the first time that the event was held outside the US and Europe since it started in 1962.
The number of international chain hotels in Sanya has continued to rise.
The city’s first international five-star brand was Gloria Resorts, which opened in the Yalong Bay resort area in 1996.
As of December 2013, Sanya had 14 international hotel management groups, 29 brands and 35 finished and under-construction hotels.
The city added 11 international standard golf courses, three yacht clubs, four yacht wharfs and more than 600 berths.
Last year, Sanya welcomed nearly 12.3 million tourists and generated more than 23 billion yuan in tourism revenue.
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