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Hainan pledges greater efforts in tourism

China's southern island province of Hainan is determined to make headway this year in its efforts to build into an internationally-acclaimed tourist destination by 2028.


While addressing the ongoing provincial people's congress Monday, Governor Luo Baoming vowed to make a good use of Hainan's position as a special economic zone (SEZ) and continue to pilot the country's reform and opening-up drive this year.


Luo heralded the cause of constructing Hainan into an internationally-acclaimed tourist destination as a breakthrough in a new round of reform and open-up.


To this end, the official called for the completion of three tasks.


"International advanced expertise will be borrowed to work out and substantiate the overall plan regarding the cause of constructing Hainan into an internationally-acclaimed tourist destination," said Luo.


Duty-free shops will be opened in Haikou, Sanya, Qionghai and Wanning. International travel agencies, hotel management companies will be encouraged to start up solely invested or joint ventures in Hainan, Luo said.


Efforts should be made to work for an inclusion of Hainan's tourism development goal into the national strategies for opening-up and tourism expansion.


To improve tourism service and administrative standard in the island, a provincial commission for tourism development has been set up to coordinate administrative functions of a number of concerned departments, said Luo.


The 34,000 square kilometer tropical island Hainan used to be apart of Guangdong Province. It was established in April 1988 as an individual province and was approved as a special economic zone (SEZ).


Tourism now contributes 14 percent to the island's gross domestic product (GDP), and has become one of its most promising sectors.


Hainan unveiled last April a blueprint aiming to build into an internationally acclaimed tourist destination by 2028.


In accordance with an action plan for Hainan's long-term tourism development goal, the province will continue to implement its visa-free policies for tourists and open up air routes.


China's State Council, the country's Cabinet, approved Hainan's tourism development blueprint in the same month, requesting the support of relevant government departments.


According to Luo, Hainan handled 20.6 million tourists last year, up 10 percent from a year ago, and raked in 18.5 billion yuan (2.72 billion U.S. dollars) in earnings, up eight percent. The tourism revenue accounted for 13 percent of the province's gross domestic product (GDP).


(Xinhua News Agency January 13, 2009)