Aerial view of Sanya city and Dadonghai bay from Luhuitou Park, Hainan
Hainan is looking to build up its medical tourism offerings as a way to lure more international visitors to the Chinese island.
It will be one of the spearheads, along with increasing the number of cruise ship visits, for growing a foreign visitor market which only accounts for around 2 per cent of total arrival numbers, according to Chen Tiejun, deputy director of the province’s tourism development commission.
Speaking in Madrid at the end of a three-country European visit to present the island’s Discover Hainan campaign, Chen revealed that the domestic market will come first. “But within five years we should be ready to open up to foreigners,” he said.
“By then we should have the quality and standards of service in place to meet established international standards.”
Chen expects the approach to appeal especially to North American and European visitors looking for traditional treatments, who will be able to combine a health stay with the attractions a tropical island with beaches and a rainforest can provide.
As well, two new ports are due to open in the next few years. One will be sited at the northern end of the island, near Haikou, and should be ready by 2018.
The other, at Hong Tan Bay, serving the main southern resort city of Sanya, is scheduled for opening in 2020, coinciding with the launch of a new airport there.