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China Focus: Resort island steps up efforts to build int'l tourism, consumption center
From:Xinhua  |  2020-04-09 23:29

HAIKOU, April 9 (Xinhua) -- At a duty-free store in Sanya, a coastal city in south China's island province of Hainan, Li Wenhao was lining up to make a purchase at a cosmetics counter.

Li, a tourist from east China's Jiangsu Province, enjoyed a vacation on the resort island for the first time.

"There are so many international brands and the prices are favorable, especially the skincare products and cosmetics," said Li. "The store is just like a tourist site, where I can happily spend hours."

During the three-day Tomb-sweeping Day holiday that ended on Monday, the four offshore duty-free shops in Hainan received a total of 19,900 customers, down 26 percent over the same period last year due to the COVID-19 epidemic. However, sales rose to 125 million yuan (about 17.7 million U.S. dollars), up 31.58 percent year on year.

Duty-free shopping has become a major attraction to tourists across the country since Hainan was granted permission to run a pilot offshore duty-free program in April 2011.

Apart from duty-free shopping, Hainan has become increasingly attractive to tourists at home and abroad with its abundant tourism products and improved services, as it strives to build itself into an international tourism and consumption center.

In 2019, Hainan received more than 83 million tourists, including 1.44 million inbound tourists, up 9 percent and 13.6 percent year on year respectively, according to the provincial tourism authorities.

Hainan boasts 161 five-star hotels, and six national top-level tourist attractions among its 59 A-class tourist sites. It has a high-speed railway that circles the whole island, the world's first of its kind.

"The hotel industry is very developed in Hainan, and we're here for the hotels," said a tourist surnamed Wei from east China's Zhejiang Province, who went on holiday with her two kids in Sanya.

It was Wei's second trip to Hainan. This time she and her family did not visit any scenic spots but stayed in the hotel during the whole trip. "The parent-child facilities are enough for us," Wei said after visiting an aquarium with her kids at the Atlantis, a landmark hotel in the city.

Zhao Jianguo, a 69-year-old Beijinger, spent one week in a high-end medical tourism service institution on the island.

"I feel much better after one week's care including traditional Chinese medicine treatment," said Zhao, noting that he became more aware of the importance of looking after his health because of the coronavirus outbreak. "It's relaxing for both my body and mind being here."

Hainan has developed a portfolio of 10 major tourism products, including marine tourism, health tourism, cultural tourism and sports tourism, said Ao Liyong, deputy director of the provincial department of tourism, culture, radio, television and sports.

Eight large tourism enterprises including China Duty Free Group and China Tourism Group set up their headquarters or regional headquarters in Hainan last year.

A total of 24 tourism projects including the brands Hello Kitty and Discovery have been signed up, said Ao.

The provincial development and reform commission announced last month a bunch of key projects, among which 10 involve investment of more than 10 billion yuan each.

According to a plan unveiled in December 2018, China aims to build Hainan into an international tourism and consumption center by 2025 and a tourism and consumption destination with global influence by 2035.