It is a wide consensus that joint cooperation helps maintain regional peace and stability in the South China Sea.
Marine economy plays an important role in regional countries' development. And reasonable development and protection of the resources in the South China Sea facilitates the sustainable development of surrounding countries and regions.
Against the background of the South China Sea issue, it is crucial to explore the joint cooperation of tourism to help alleviate disputes in a more gentle way, and to maintain regional stability.
Surrounding countries and regions have implemented research and protection of the South China Sea with the establishment of ocean parks in the area.
In 1988, the Philippines set up the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park. In 1980, Indonesia set up the Komodo National Park, and Malaysia founded a marine park on Swallow Reef (known as Danwan Jiao in China).
Taiwan also set up the Dongsha marine park in 2007.
The establishment of marine parks can help protect fish, coral, birds, and other biological resources in the South China Sea.
It can also avoid the destruction of the marine ecology caused by illegal fishing, and protect coral reefs and other ecological resources from man-made damage and threats, so as to ensure the sustainable development of the sea.
Vietnam has long ago opened tourism on the Nansha Islands. Its tourism authorities are beginning a tourism development plan for ocean and islands by 2020, which will focus on investment across five new ocean tourism centers, and will seek to build the Xisha and Nansha islands into tourism resorts.
Malaysia's development of international tourism on the Danwan Jiao not only attracts international tourists, but also facilitates its declaration of sovereignty over the reef.
Countries around the South China Sea have been seeking to achieve their purpose of occupation through the development of tourism. This shows the necessity of joint cooperation of tourism in the South China Sea.
With the creation of the China-ASEAN free trade zone, tourism between China and ASEAN has witnessed rapid development, while China and ASEAN countries have become major tourism destinations for each other.
According to the World Tourism Organization, outbound tourists worldwide reached a record of 1 billion in 2012 with tourists from the Chinese mainland providing the biggest growth impetus.
The opening-up of tourism on the Xisha Islands and the development of tourism resources in Sansha have been high points in accelerating international tourism island construction.
Developing tourism in the Xisha Islands is also an opportunity to declare China's sovereignty in the South China Sea.
In the 2011 East Asia Summit, China's idea of setting up a China-ASEAN fund, worth 3 billion yuan ($474 million), attracted attention.
This fund is set aside for further promotion of comprehensive China-ASEAN cooperation in the South China Sea. This cooperation includes joint tourism.
The "ocean park model" also promotes joint cooperation of tourism by making the area a non-dispute area, which can also include the Anambas Islands between Malaysia and Indonesia.
We can use South China Sea tourism cooperation as a breakthrough to promote joint tourism cooperation between neighboring countries of the South China Sea.
Mainland and Taiwan can also expand cooperation, bringing benefits not only to the ecological balance and biological diversity of the Nansha Islands, but also to the declaration of sovereignty and maintenance of maritime rights through marine conservation.
It is strongly suggested that Chinese mainland and Taiwan strengthen their cooperation in the field of ecological tourism, combined with luxury cruise ships and multi-station trips, while Sanya, Kaohsiung, Yongxing Island and Dongsha Islands can be taken into consideration as hot spots.
We can also go easy at first before moving forward with more confidence as success comes in these joint tourism projects. 
SOURCE: Global Times
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