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Go China - Haikou

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Go China - Haikou

Visa-free destination in Haikou city, imperial crown on China’s free trade port, the tropical island of Hainan

Elevated experience for international tourists as the first step to get into China

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 31 May, 2018, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 May, 2018, 12:00am

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As well as becoming China’s 12th free-trade zone, Hainan, a 35,000 square kilometre (13,500 square mile) island, will go a step further by becoming the largest free trade port in the world and will rival the world’s most developed and elegant areas, like Hong Kong and Singapore in Asia and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

With no doubt, Haikou city, capital of the country’s biggest free trade port, will manfully take the pioneer post to fulfil Hainan’s goal to be the country’s new and main engine in economic and cultural tourism growth. Its efforts will absolutely help make the city the pride of China and the city of the future.

The country’s president Xi Jinping highlighted Hainan’s “special advantages” in April a t the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the founding of Hainan province – including its status as China’s biggest special economic zone, its geography and “best ecological environment” – as reasons to make it the test ground for reform and opening up.

Xi Jinping said the Communist Party’s Central Committee had high hopes for Hainan, adding that it was an important step in China’s opening up to the world and advancing economic globalization.

Xi Jinping said Hainan would build a modern economy and develop information technology in fields such as big data, satellite navigation and artificial intelligence. The island will also focus on developing modern service industries such as tourism, the internet, health care, finance and hosting conferences and exhibitions.

Among all those ambitious efforts, the key and priority project for Haikou city is to turn itself into a global tourism hotspot and leading strategic base for the tropical island of Hainan.

Haikou city is exploring new ways to keep its residents and visitors moving in various emerging sectors, including developing fantastic duty-free shopping landmarks and routes, sport and other leisure industries such as beach and water sports and horse racing , cruise industry with far-reaching new routes to across the world, hotel accommodation, conferences and exhibitions and tailor-made travel.

Most urban countries and regions across the world are among 59 countries granted visa-free access to China’s resort island Hainan for stays of up to 30 days, according to the State Immigration Authority. The

59 countries include: Russia, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Norway, Ukraine, Italy, Austria, Finland, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Ireland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro,  Macedonia, Albania, United States, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina,  Chile, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Indonesia, Brunei, UAE, Qatar, Monaco, and Belarus.

As a friendly reminder for individual tourists from these 59 countries, to able to visit Hainan for 30 days visa-free, booking a tour through local travel agencies is a must for their trip to the island of Hainan. Foreign tourists can get 11 per cent sales tax refunds after spending at least 800 yuan in Haikou. The refund is valid for purchases made up to 90 days before departure.

The moves are likely to benefit Chinese airlines, including the island’s flagship carrier, Hainan Airlines. It is expected to sharply increase the number of international tourists traveling to Haikou city, as well as other cities of the island province, which to help Hainan eventually become “Asia’s Hawaii” or the world’s other paradise for travelling.

The number of overseas tourists to China's southern island province of Hainan exceeded 1.1 million in 2017, up nearly 50 per cent year on year. The foreign exchange earnings from tourism hit $681 million last year, nearly 95 percent more than in 2016. The number of domestic and international tourist arrivals reached 24.27 million last year in Haikou city, up 11 per cent from a year ago.

Benefit from the initiatives of Free-trade port, it will see a dramatic change and development of Haikou city to go to become an international destination in the coming short term. The 30-day period of stay would be a wonderful vacation in depth Haikou tour.

Haikou city, similar to Portsmouth in England, is the capital and most populous city of the island province, located in the northern coast of Hainan and by the mouth of the Nandu River, Hainan's principal river. Haikou city has been the economy and transport hub of Hainan since Song Dynasty in 1200s. Today, more than half of the island's total trade still goes through the city’s ports.

Haikou city is one of China’s most fabulous tropical and coastal city with many faces: Palm tree lined streets; modern skyscrapers; traditional Chinese old town; bustling fishing ports/markets; long beautiful white-sand beaches and home to various ethnic minorities. As a major city, it offers all modern facilities including bars, night-clubs, banks that accept foreign cards, and good transport tools to reach hinterland China and other tour spots across the island, which provides an elevated experience for international tourists as the first step to get into China.

Just plan and let it happen for a vacation to the most emerging area of China in the coming decade

Wedding tourism and conference tourism could be two new but most emerging sector for Haikou to attract global travelers and businesspeople from across the world, with great potential to be next Las Vegas in Asia.

Along the coastline, the international five-star hotels and Hainan International Convention and Exhibition Center, which was designed by Atelier Li Xinggang, the chief architect of China's part of the National Stadium, the "Bird's Nest", display their unique, cosmopolitan beauty.

Government statistics show that over 8,000 exhibitions and commercial conferences were held in Haikou in last year, being a key indicator of internationalization and economic development in the city. The sector generated 10.3 billion yuan in revenue during the period, around 20 per cent up compared to 2016.

Haikou city is also an eco-tourism city with tropical seaside scenes and the charms of an island city. Coconut palms stretch along the tourism belt of the gold coast, dotted by golf courses, a sailing training base, Western Beach Park and the Holiday Beach. Integrating leisure, tourism, culture and entertainment, water and beach sports, Haikou city has become an ideal destination for domestic and foreign tourists to hold business conferences and to for vacations. It not only has a “red forest,” which is known as a sea forest, the volcanic wonder “Crater” and other rare natural landscapes, but also a number of famous historical and cultural places of interest like China’s biggest arcade buildings block Haikou Qilou Street, Hairui Tomb and the Temple of the Five Lords.

Haikou Qilou Street contains the oldest buildings in the city and was largely built by wealthy Chinese from the mainland and some "overseas Chinese" who had returned to their homeland. The houses are a mixture of styles including Portuguese, French, and Southeast Asian. The streets used to be divided into different areas selling Chinese and western medicine, for silk and bespoke clothes, one for fresh fish and meat, and others for the sale of incense, candles, paper, ink, and other goods.

Travel a short distance outside the city and you will find villages where people lead a traditional farming way of life in lush green countryside.

The Haikou Marathon, boasting an improved course and upgraded services and starting in the picturesque, landmark Meishe River Fengxiang Wetland Park, will be definitely one of the most beautiful of its kind across the country. For those yachting, Haikou city plans to have 10 big and small marina by 2020 along the city’s coastal bays.

Under the grand plan, the island of Hainan, home to 2.2 million people, is expected to be the beneficiary of more opening-up policies, economic freedom and market access.

It will be the best choice for your first step to experience China’s flourishing and opening up, as well as a perfect vocation for tropical pleasure.