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Hainan's tourism forum to spur exhibition industry

By Lu Na

Hainan officials hope the upcoming Boao International Tourism Forum (BITF) will develop more than just the island's tourism industry. "The Boao International Tourism Forum is an opportunity for the transformation and promotion of Hainan's exhibition industry," said Chairman of the Hainan Conference and Exhibition Association Yang Xuegong on March 2, 2010.

According to Yang, the exhibition industry has become a bright spot of economic growth. "By holding various kinds of exhibitions and conferences, we are able to attract tremendous capital, talent, information and cultural exchanges," he said. A survey report states that the gross income of companies holding exhibitions on the island in 2008 reached 23.1 million yuan (US$3.4 million). However, the industry is not without its battles. Facing what's known as the "three small and one few," Hainan has a small aggregate economy, small-scaled companies, small exhibition venues and very few famous brands.

In the process of developing the industry, Yang hopes companies can gain more experience and learn advanced methods that are needed in order to host larger conferences. He would like to see Hainan become an exhibition center for all of Asia. Based on the island's environment and resources, he believes Hainan has the potential to develop tourism-themed exhibitions, such as those pertaining to tropical agriculture, health and golf.