Chinese authorities have given the green light for an airport project in the city of Qionghai in the southernmost tropical island province of Hainan.

The project will provide the tourist island with its third airport. The other two airports are located in the provincial capital of Haikou and the scenic beachside city of Sanya.

According to a document of approval issued by the State Council, or China’s cabinet, the airport will be built in Qionghai’s Zhongyuan Township.

Built with a projected cost of 945 million yuan ($146 million), the airport will handle 3,190 flights, or 290,000 passengers and 725 metric tons of cargo, annually by 2015. It will be able to accomodate a variety of aircraft, including corporate jets and airliners.

Most travelers prefer to get to the island by air, as the island is separated from the mainland by the Qiongzhou Strait.

The construction of the airport will help to facilitate travel to Bo’ao, a small town that has become a popular tourist destination as a result of the Bo’ao Forum, an annual gathering that brings together state leaders, government officials, businessmen and academics from across Asia. The forum aims to promote regional economic integration.

Partly boosted by the launch of a duty-free shopping program in April, Hainan’s tourist traffic witnessed a year-on-year surge of 8.94 percent in the first half of the year, reaching 14.42 million visitors.


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