11 August 2008
Secret Chinese island potentially the next Hawaii
An island off the coast of China is no longer trying to be its best kept secret, reports The Daily Mail, and Division Chief of Marketing and Communications of Hainan Provincial Tourism Bureau (HPTB) Chen Yibo has been charged with turning the destination into an internationally renowned resort.
Sitting on the same latitude as Hawaii, Hainan Island is traditionally a popular holidaying resort for Chinese and has long been a hidden secret from the rest of the world. Now, Chen is working to raise the profile of the country so that it competes with Hawaii and the Pacific Islands, and believes that its beaches, sunshine and natural surroundings have the potential to be better than its competitors.
According to the newspaper, 753,100 international visitors visited Hainan Island last year and in the first quarter of this year it saw a 9.26 per cent increase of visitors for the same period as last year.
Tourists groups that number more than five people from 21 selected countries are granted 15 day visa-free access to the Island. This means that nationals from countries such as US, UK, New Zealand, Australia and Canada do not have to apply for a Chinese visa to holiday on the island. Tourists from these countries who are travelling in groups of less than five can get visas on arrival, and take only 20 minutes to process. The Hainan government is trying to increase the number of countries part of the visa-waiver programme to 26 over the next few years.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Chinese visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.