DETERMINED to cement its status as a top international tourism destination by 2020, China’s Hainan province is making moves to grow its infrastructure and flight connectivity to support the expected increase in domestic and international arrivals.
Speaking at press conference in Singapore yesterday, Luo Shixiang, deputy secretary general, Hainan province said two intersecting expressways cutting through the centre of Hainan Island would be constructed, linking its north and south.
In addition, the existing hi-speed railway in the east will be extended to connect the entire perimeter of the island. Two new airports will also be built in the south and east, with the latter serving the existing and planned MICE infrastructure in Boao.
To bolster international arrivals, the Hainan government recently granted third, fourth and fifth aviation rights to all foreign carriers, allowing them to operate from their home ports to Hainan, and onward to other destinations, without restriction.
Luo said: “Hainan is the only province in China that has granted foreign airlines third, fourth and fifth aviation rights. Foreign carriers are also permitted to establish operation bases in Hainan. Simultaneously, Hainan has eased visa restrictions since 2010, and nationals from 26 countries, if they travel in groups of at least five, can travel into Hainan visa-free.”
In keeping with its open skies policy, the Hainan government has formalised an extension of Jetstar Asia’s Haikou-Singapore flights to Perth. Once operational, the extended service is expected to increase traffic flow from Australia to Hainan and vice versa, via a two-hour transit in Singapore.
Luo said: “The Jetstar extension is just one of many initiatives which will help us to reach out to the Australian leisure market, which is a priority. Simultaneously, it will make travelling to Australia more convenient for the Chinese.”
Over 30 million tourists flooded Hainan in 2011, with the bulk arriving from mainland China. Between 2010 and 2011, tourism revenue jumped by 25 per cent to RMB32 billion (US$4.3 billion).