Hainan, the Hawaii of China expected to attract more tourists than Dubai
A Chinese island most Europeans have never heard of could soon attract more visitors than Dubai.
The resort destination of Hainan – often dubbed China’s answer to Hawaii – will soon rival the world’s holiday hotspots and particularly other Far Eastern destinations including Singapore, says the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).
The island lies off the south coast of China and boasts 1,500km of pristine coastline. The resort of Sanya is among the most popular and recently hosted the Chinese Olympic beach volleyball team on its soft sands.
It’s only three years since tourism officials in China decided to back Hainan as a potential holiday destination, vowing to make it a ‘world class resort’ by 2020.
The latest statistics from the WTTC show the destination could easily make good on that promise with forecasts predicting tourism to Hainan will grow by 13 per cent every year for the next decade. Hainan already has more jobs in travel and tourism than other neighbouring tourism big hitters, Hong Kong and Macau.
Vast investment from international hotel brands has helped to propel the island’s development with more luxury properties in the pipeline.
WTTC president David Scowsill said ‘more than 60 upscale, internationally branded hotels and resorts, infrastructure, new airport capacity, visa-free entry for foreigners and duty-free shopping’ were among the ambitious plans.
He added: ‘No other destination in the world has attracted such huge investment, including virtually all the leading hotel brands.’
There was a word of caution too though against the potential downsides of such heady building. Mr Scowsill said: ‘Considerable care must be taken to ensure controlled development in order to avoid mistakes made in other parts of the world’.
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