Hainan Empress, a 174-meter-long luxury cruise liner, was put into use in Sanya, southernmost China' s island province of Hainan, on Saturday to assist the island' s ocean tourism business.

As the first luxury cruise liner registered in Hainan, Hainan Empress will sail on the South China Sea around Hainan island.

With a tonnage of 23,000 tonnes, the cruise liner is 24 meters in width and 45.63 meters at its highest point. It can accommodate about 600 passengers and provides various styles of food and entertainment.

"It marks the initial start of ocean tourism in Hainan with the first round-island voyage of the luxury cruise liner, named and registered in Hainan," said Deng Xiaogang, deputy-director of Hainan Provincial Tourism Development Commission.

Hainan tourism mainly provided on-land entertainment before. Now, the luxury cruise liner brings ocean tourism as part of the options available to tourists, Deng added.

He noted that Hainan was prepared to make the island a home port for cruise liners by providing related services.

Hainan is a world-renowned island recreation and vacation resort. It received more than 25 million tourists who stayed at least one night in 2010.

The Chinese government announced a plan in January 2010 to build the tropical island into a top international tourism destination by 2020.



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