A complete high-speed railway circle is to start operation in Hainan province by the end of this year to further promote tourism of the island.

Construction of the western part of the high-speed railway circle in Hainan province is finished, forming a complete railway circle around the island with the eastern part of the railway, which is already in operation.

The eastern part of the circle started operation in December 2010, with an average occupancy rate of 90 percent. The completed circle is believed to boost a well-balanced tourism development of the island.

He Ling, marketing manager of Hainan International Tourism Co, said that the railway circle will encourage tourists to travel around the island via various transportation methods.

"Transportation options were limited before the operation of the high-speed railways. Traveling by buses was their only choice, which is unhealthy for tourism development," He said.

She said that although tourists will be less reliant on services provided by travel agencies once the railways start operation, tourism resources in the western part of the island will be explored to fill in the losses.

"Currently, tourism is underdeveloped in the western part. We are designing one-day trips to promote this part in the future," He said.

Compared with the eastern part of Hainan, which has Sanya as a world-famous tourism spot, the western part of the island does not have proper development.

According to official statistics, tourism accounted for only 2.65 percent of total GDP of that area.

Wang Jiansheng, secretary-general of the Hainan Tourism Association, also believes that the high-speed railway circle will help promote the province’s tourism.

"Hainan will be the first island that has a complete circle of high-speed railways in the world. The circle will help link tourism spots into one line, which will be more appealing to tourists," he said.

Zhang Xiuli, a tourist from Beijing, said that she has been longing for a trip around the island for a long time.

"It would be even better if they can provide discounts for frequent visitors so that I can come and visit as much as possible," she said. 

SOURCE: China Daily
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