Tourism drive launched

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 June, 2011, 12:00am


Boosting tourism is a major goal of the Binhai New Area. Making the Binhai Tourism Area a top destination for local and overseas visitors is one of the top-10 priorities for this year.

The Binhai New Area, which has surpassed Shanghai's Pudong in terms of gross domestic product, aims to receive 1 million visitors a year, with tourism spending expected to reach 70 million yuan (HK$84 million) in the short term.

The Tianjin government plans to invest 50 billion yuan to build new tourism attractions, including a world-class theme park, maritime museum, and facilities for recreational and sightseeing activities, such as cruises, yachting and eco-tours.

These facilities are expected to open next year. So far, 13 companies have registered in the tourism area.

Binhai Tourism Area is one of nine functional zones within Binhai New Area, which was formed in 2009 by consolidating existing areas and districts, including the Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area, one of the mainland's earliest development zones set up in 1984.

Binhai New Area is located on the east coast of Tianjin, with a planned area of 2,270 square kilometres and a population of 2.02 million. It is a national-level economic development area with the same status as Pudong New Area in Shanghai and Lianjiang New Area in Chongqing.

In addition to the tourism area, there are areas dedicated to advanced manufacturing, aerospace, high technology, various industries, and business and finance.

Yujiapu Financial District will be the head of Binhai's business activities.

The area is already home to many multinational and mainland companies attracted by low taxes and the supply of a rich pool of talent from surrounding universities and institutions in Beijing. These include many of the world's top enterprises such as Motorola, Airbus, Boeing, Samsung Electronics and Shell.

Some companies have expanded their operations in recent years. For example, Motorola, which has relocated its overseas plants to Tianjin, has increased its investment by eight times, with its accumulative total investment reaching US$3 billion.

Samsung Group has invested in 10 companies in the area, with a total monetary value of US$1.3 billion, and FAW-Toyota has increased its investment to four plants, pouring in US$800 million.

In the first quarter of this year, foreign direct investment in the Binhai New Area increased 18.2 per cent to US$3.16 billion, accounting for 80 per cent of Tianjin's total. Most projects are in the field of manufacturing.

Nangang Industrial Zone, also called Tianjin South Port, will be one of the newest development zones in Binhai New Area. It is expected to begin operations later this year after two years of construction. Its service and support offices began operations last month.

The zone has a planned area of 200 square kilometres, including a land area of 162 square kilometres. It is a strategic project for the municipality to relocate heavy, chemical, gas and oil-refining industries to the southern part of the city. It is also expected to share some of the traffic at Tianjin's port, one of the largest in the world.

Construction of the seafront area has finished, while building of the railway, highways and port facilities is under way. As of April, 29 projects had been signed, with a total investment of 58.66 billion yuan.