The Korea Herald


Sanya Marks Sixth Anniversary of Establishing the Hainan FTP with Pledge to Boost Global Tourism Influence


Published : May 21, 2024 - 00:31

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SANYA, China, May 20, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- As Sanya marks the sixth anniversary of the Hainan Free Trade Port (Hainan FTP), the city is reflecting on its significant growth and pledging its commitment to continued transformation. With an eye on becoming a premier international tourist destination and a globally influential tourism consumption center, Sanya is at the heart of the strategic vision for the Hainan FTP's development. In the last six years, Sanya's tourism industry has seen impressive growth. Its tourism revenue soared from 51.473 billion yuan in 2018 to 89.664 billion yuan in 2023, while overnight visitor numbers surged from 18.31 million to over 25 million. This remarkable progress underscores the city's success in improving and expanding its tourism services.

Sanya international promotional video

Striving to Build an International Tourism Consumption Center 

For years, Sanya has continued to improve tourism infrastructure, introduced a series of supportive policies to vigorously promote the transformation and upgrading of tourism, and given a strong impetus to building the city as an international tourism consumption center.

Sanya has seized the opportunities of the times by innovating with a "Tourism+" strategy, creating a diverse industrial integration. The city has focused on developing 12 key tourism-related sectors, including culture and sports, cruise ships and yachts, duty-free shopping and medical and healthcare. By differentiating its development path, Sanya strives to meet the deep-seated and individual needs of its visitors, maintaining a fresh tourism experience.

An example of this strategy is the "Tourism+Culture" initiative. Sanya emphasizes the mutual enhancement of culture and travel, promoting the deep integration of both sectors. Through prestigious events like the Hainan Island International Film Festival, the 2023 Boating Sanya & Sanya International Wine and Spirits Fair, Sanya showcases the unique charm of its cultural and tourism blend to the world, drawing global attention to its new charms beyond the natural landscape.

As Sanya keeps innovating in tourism, yacht tourism has emerged as a standout attraction. In April, Sanya Serenity Marina received its third International Platinum Gold Anchor Accreditation, highlighting the city's thriving yacht industry. Moreover, yacht numbers in Sanya jumped from 641 in 2020 to 1,367 in 2023, cementing its status as a "yacht city" and revitalizing the high-end consumer market.

Another exciting development is the growth of nighttime tourism. Sanya has been developing its nighttime economy, with Luhuitou Park leading the way. The park now buzzes with activity, drawing over 1.13 million visitors and generating more than 30 million yuan in revenue in the first five months of 2024, marking increases of 25% and 39% over 2023, respectively.

Driven by a robust duty-free policy, Sanya's duty-free shopping has achieved impressive results and has become a crucial component in developing an international tourism consumption center. In 2023, Sanya saw total offshore duty-free sales surging 17.7% year on year to 28.5 billion yuan. This surge attracted numerous international luxury brands, showcasing the magnetic pull of the duty-free policy.

Additionally, Sanya has focused on improving overall service quality. By implementing a no-admission fee policy on its three national scenic spots, Sanya has seen significantly increased tourist numbers. This approach also provided these areas with opportunities for diverse business operations to boost both economic and social benefits.

Meanwhile, Sanya is enhancing the consumer experience through various new approaches. In April 2023, Sanya launched an enhanced service platform with a pre-compensation system for tourism complaints, guaranteeing visitors a safe, reliable, and enjoyable experience. Additionally, to enhance international visitors' experience, Sanya introduced the Hainan Trust Pay app, allowing easy payments for international tourists in Sanya.

To offer global tourists convenient travel options to Sanya, Sanya has been expanding its transport network to connect more cities worldwide. In 2023, the cruise ship Resorts World One began the Hong Kong-Sanya route. In late 2023, the inauguration of the Phnom Penh-Sanya-Singapore passenger flight, endowed with the fifth freedom of air rights, significantly enhanced Sanya's air connectivity. By May 2024, Sanya Phoenix International Airport has resumed international operations with 18 international routes launched.

In step with the development of the Hainan FTP, the Sanya Tourism Board (STB) has been crucial in showcasing Sanya to a wider audience. Since its inception, STB has expanded its influence by offering distinctive tourism experiences that reflect a modern, vibrant image. It enhances Sanya's visibility and appeal on a global scale by strategically marketing and partnering with travel companies.


Innovating Products to Fuel the Passion for Inbound Tourism

As China's inbound tourism market fully recovers, Sanya is emerging as a top global destination. Prioritizing inbound tourism development, Sanya is boosting its international appeal by tailoring experiences to diverse tourist preferences, launching initiatives to enhance its market, and expanding its international tourist network.

To showcase Sanya's unique charms, the STB has collaborated with the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, Atlantis Dubai, and Atlantis Sanya to kick off the "5.19 China Tourism Day" theme month campaign with the "Sanya&Dubai Twin Cities Food Festival" as part of the campaign. The campaign aims to tap into emerging markets like Abu Dhabi and Doha, strengthening Sanya's tourism sector and fostering long-term partnerships.

Among tourists from Japan, South Korea, and other East Asian countries, Sanya is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and innovative tourism. By combining its picturesque seashores and verdant rainforests, Sanya has developed a unique "Tourism+Sports" model, focusing on leisure, sightseeing, and particularly golf. Its courses, rich with tropical flair, allow visitors to immerse in nature while playing. In 2023, Sanya elevated its tourism appeal by introducing the AJGA International Pathway Series, a platform that blends competitive golf with leisure tourism, putting Sanya's golf tourism in the global spotlight.

Tourists from Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and more are attracted to Sanya for traditional Chinese medicine. Embracing "Tourism+Wellness," Sanya capitalizes on its superb climate, fresh air, clean seawater, and natural hot springs. Beyond its scenic allure, Sanya boasts well-equipped wellness centers that combine leisure, traditional Chinese medicine treatments and cuisine, offering a holistic service to meet the wellness tourism demands of global visitors.

For Southeast Asian tourists, Sanya has launched a series of tailored hometown-themed tourism products. These offerings, including family visits and heritage-seeking tours, tap into shared cultural heritage and strengthen the cultural connections between Sanya and Southeast Asian tourists. They not only foster a warm sense of cultural belonging among visitors but also enrich Sanya's tourism with deeper cultural and emotional significance.

Sanya also taps into the European and American tourists' interest in cultural exploration by using its rich intangible cultural heritage. Through a "Tourism+Culture" model, it offers unique experiences, including exhibitions, workshops, and traditional performances that highlight the island's diverse culture, from Li brocade weaving to ancient fishing songs and boat-dwelling traditions. This approach not only deepens visitors' understanding of Chinese culture but also fosters international cultural exchanges, showcasing Sanya's dedication to merging cultural promotion with tourism innovation.

Sanya, leveraging the expansive opportunities from the 59 countries' visa-free policy within the island, and the development of Hainan FTP, is enhancing its international tourism appeal as an international tourism consumption center. Through innovative integration and development strategies, Sanya is boosting its internal momentum and contributing significantly to the high-quality advancement of China's inbound tourism.