Sanya aims to woo more international visitors

Sanya, the beach resort that attracts millions of Chinese tourists each year, is aiming to lure more international visitors.

Reporting its visitor figures for the first half of 2016, the Sanya Tourism Development Commission (STDC) revealed that the Hainan resort city attracted 192,000 overseas visitors in the six-month period, including arrivals from ‘Greater China’ markets such as Hong Kong. This marked a 13.6% year-on-year increase, but the figure remains just a small fraction of Sanya’s total 7.82 million tourist arrivals for the period.

The beach at Sanya
The beach at Sanya

Nevertheless, STDC director Fan Mu said he was happy with the upward trend.

“I am delighted with the steady growth of visitor arrivals, and the investment we have put into positioning Sanya as a major international tourist destination is beginning to show returns,” he stated.

Hong Kong is the largest source of non-mainland Chinese visitors to Sanya, followed by Russia and South Korea. And the destination’s international appeal could be broadened by the launch of new air routes. Three new services arrived at Sanya’s Phoenix International Airport in the first half of 2016, connecting the city with Frankfurt, Ho Chi Minh City and Kaohsiung.

That takes the total number of new international routes to Sanya launched since the start of 2015 to 14, including services from Japan, South Korea, Russia, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau. Passenger traffic at Sanya’s Phoenix International Airport increased 3.9% to 8.79m in the first half of 2016.

In an effort to drum up more international business, the STDC has recently conducted 32 missions to key source markets, including attendance at global travel trade events. It has also expanded its digital footprint with new websites in Japanese, Korean and Russian, and accounts on six major overseas social networks and travel platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and TripAdvisor.

The government of China is planning to establish Hainan as an international tourist destination along the lines of Hawaii or Bali, and the island province has been designated a “special economic zone” in an effort to hasten its development.

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