As the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) kicked off its 20th anniversary edition “A World in Change” on April 18, Hainan Island, where Boao is situated, has become a shining showcase for the future of Asia in the post-pandemic era. Hainan Island has attracted billions of dollars in investment since the commencement of the Overall Plan for the Construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port (Hainan FTP Plan) in June 2020. At the same time, Sanya, the popular resort city located on the southern tip of Hainan Island, is emerging as the hottest international tourism destination of 2021 with boundless new opportunities for work, travel and play.
Combining the ancient charm of Hainan’s Li and Miao ethnic culture with crystal-clear waters, an abundance of coconut plantations, awe-inspiring sunsets and a never-ending array of diverse activities, Sanya is brimming with ways to stir the heart and awaken the senses. As Hainan enters a key stage of the construction of the Hainan FTP, Sanya is poised to become the island’s main drawcard with a boom of investment into the tourism, modern services and high-tech sectors. The Sanya Tourism Promotion Board is supporting this transformation by evolving Sanya’s tourism offering and innovating the region’s travel-related enterprises to capture visitors in the post-pandemic era.
The Sanya Tourism Promotion Board was created in 2020 as a market-oriented operation organization focused on fostering government-enterprise partnerships, mobilizing Sanya’s abundance of resources in the cultural and tourism industries, and exploring new opportunities to build Sanya’s destination branding. The inception of the board is also a bold attempt to explore pioneering experiences to support the reform of the national tourism system against the background of the New Hainan.
Over the past year, Hainan Island has introduced a number of policies and systems to accelerate the island’s development, including the reduction of company registration timeframes to one day, the introduction of tax reductions and exemptions to create a more business-friendly environment, and the continued optimization of the tax-free operation and management system for outlying islands. Already regarded as one of China’s most popular domestic tourist hotspots, the new Hainan FTP has reinvigorated Sanya’s travel industry. With China looking to the new Hainan as an investment hub, the “New Sanya” will be a springboard for international business and travel in the region.
More than 104 key projects linked to the Hainan FTP have been inked in the past month, alongside the additional 741 projects signed previously. As a major investment magnet, these projects will inject an additional US$10 billion worth of development into Hainan Island and provide more convenient conditions and broader market opportunities to accelerate Sanya’s tourism development. In anticipation of an uptick in travel, leading tourism giants have set their sights on Sanya, with the likes of Caesars Tourism establishing its corporate headquarters in the area.
Meanwhile, PADI, the world’s largest professional association of diving instructors, has also signed an agreement with Sanya Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City to open a dive training base and promote the development of Hainan Island’s dive training and tourism industries. With crystal-clear oceans teeming with marine life, Sanya will serve as a base for PADI to expand its operations in the region, as well as across China.
Leveraging the surge in investment and partnership, the Sanya Tourism Promotion Board is dedicated to cultivating new destinations and modes of tourism that showcase the city’s vast diversity and resources. Its latest “Wonderland Sanya” campaign is targeted at young travelers and invites them to explore the new Sanya’s unique and vibrant possibilities across five angles of food, travel photography, culture, outdoor activities and luxury hospitality. As borders gradually reopen in 2021 and beyond, the board will continue to enhance the popularity of Sanya and Hainan Island as a global player in business and leisure travel.