Russian tourists visit a duty-free shopping mall in Sanya. [Photo by Huang Yiming/China Daily]
Yachts at berth in Sanya. Hainan is a hotspot for the yachting community from around the world thanks to new regulations that allow foreign boats to stay up to 90 days.[Photo by Huang Yiming/China Daily]
South China’s Hainan province is alluring tourists from around the world through its picturesque landscape, modern shopping malls and varied folk cultures.

Last year, 33.2 million tourists visited the province, up 10.6 percent from 2012.

In 2010 the provincial government’s plan to build an "international tourist island" was approved by the State Council, marking tourism as a key strategic sector for the island.

The plan aims to make Hainan a first-class global tourist destination by 2020.

The province is already a renowned destination in China for its many attractions in Sanya, Haikou and other cities.

Yalong Bay in the southeast of Sanya is especially popular among tourists. Its annual average air temperature is 25.5 C, while water in the half-moon shaped bay is 22 C. Sixteen of the city’s 40 five-star hotels are around the bay area.

Nearby are other famous attractions – the Butterfly Valley, the Rose Valley and the Tropical Paradise Forest Park.

The tropical forest park is the city’s first and is famed for its fresh, clean air. Renowned movie producer and director Feng Xiaogang used the Nest Vacation Village inside the park as the setting for the blockbuster If You Are the One in 2010, further increasing the park’s popularity.

In the city’s southwestern area is the province’s most famous scenic area Tianya Haijiao – or "the end of the earth". With blue sea, golden beach and cliffs in spectacular shapes, the area is recognized as the best place for newlyweds to take vows because of the famous Chinese saying "lovers cannot be separated even one is at the end of the earth".

Volcano Crater Park in Haikou city offers an enlightening experience to tourists. It is a rare volcanic cluster dating back 10,000 years, where students and enthusiasts see the Earth’s evolution firsthand.

The province also has many villages where ancient buildings and traditional ways of life are well kept.

They include Binglang village in Sanya with its authentic culture of the Li ethnic group.

The "stone village" near the Haikou volcanic cluster has buildings made of basalt and offers a slow, otherworldly lifestyle.

The provincial capital of Haikou is famous for its qilou buildings, or shophouses, mostly built by overseas Chinese returning from Southeast Asia some 100 years ago. They have a fusion of European and Asian architecture, as well as Indian and Arabic influences.

Besides a variety of scenic areas, Hainan is now a "paradise for shoppers" because of a grand duty-free shopping mall in Sanya and similar facilities in other cities.

Tan Li, vice-governor of Hainan province, said at the Boao Forum for Asia earlier this month that the city of Sanya plans to build the world’s largest duty-free shopping mall near Haitang Bay at a cost of 5 billion yuan ($800 million).

SOURCE: China Daily 


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