More destinations on Hainan Island are stepping up efforts to court business events and corporate groups, pushing nature, culture and well-being to counter Sanya's popular coastal appeal.


Qixianling, for instance, is boosting promotions for its scenic mountain settings and health-enhancing hot springs. Meeting and incentive visitors can also choose from several five-star hotels here.


The destination was featured most recently in a five-night fam trip, hosted by Hainan Airlines, for major travel consultants and media personnel from Singapore. Participating consultants said Qixianling makes a good option for leisure and corporate groups.


Sino-America Tours senior operations manager for MICE, Oh Bee Ann, said: “Hiking in the rainforests and mountains is good for teambuilding; if not, the Narada Resort & Spa Qixian Mount should suffice as a destination itself, with its hot springs and array of well-thought out activities like tai chi, yoga, bamboo rice making and wild vegetable plucking.”


Pre- and post-meeting activities can take place in Tunchang, which boasts organic farm stays and a street of oil painting shops; Qionghai lures with small clean towns and coffee shops that occupy converted heritage residential buildings. Qionghai also houses the BFA International Convention Center – the permanent venue for the annual Boa Forum for Asia – and two supporting MICE-friendly hotels, BFA Hotel and Golden Coast Hot Spring Hotel.


Oh believes that the food, indigenous population, nature and hot springs at Hainan’s secondary destinations can attract Singapore’s corporate groups, but added that her agency’s packages would nevertheless include Sanya, a must-visit destination for Singaporeans, as part of the itinerary.


Meanwhile Sanya is not resting on its laurels. Haitang Bay will welcome a new duty-free mall and hospital, among other facilities, while central Sanya saw the opening of a popular cultural tourism attraction, Sanya Romance Park, in September 2013. Developments are also ongoing in Sanya Bay, Yalong Bay and Dadonghai.


Hainan currently has two international airports in Sanya and Haikou, with another under construction now in Qionghai’s Boao. The latter is expected to open in one to two years’ time.


Oh said: “Hainan Airlines’ direct flights to Haikou have helped to prop up business in recent years. I expect the third airport to boost access, and our business, further.”


Hainan Airlines currently flies Singapore-Haikou-Taiyuan thrice weekly. Its Singapore branch general manager, Peng Xin Xiu, said the airline expects to add three more flights out of Singapore to Hefei via Haikou by end of this month.




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