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China's Hainan to continue expanding visa-free travel

Citizens of 59 countries (including Russia) enjoy visa-free travel to the Island of Hainan

HAIKOU, April 15. /TASS/. China's Hainan intends to continue expanding visa-free travel as well as easing visa procedures for those arriving on the island aboard cruise ships and yachts, Xinhua reported citing its sources in local administration.

Since May 1, 2018, the province has had a visa-free travel for foreigners from 59 countries, including Russia, who book their tours through travel agencies. Last year, according to official figures, more than 470,000 foreigners used a visa-free travel to visit the Island of Hainan. This figures for the said period increased by 33% compared to 2018.

During the entire period of the visa-free travel for citizens of 59 countries, according to the provincial immigration service, about 770,000 foreign tourists visited Hainan without a visa. Since July 2019, the visa-free travel has also been extended to foreign citizens from the countries included in this list, who arrive on the island for business, undergoing treatment, participating in sports competitions and exhibitions.

In 2019, tourist flow to the province from abroad grew by 12.4% and amounted to about 1.42 million people. Revenues of the tourism industry for the said period reached 105 billion yuan ($ 14.8 billion). As of the end of 2019, the Hainan Province had air routes connecting it with 62 cities in 20 countries and regions. In 2020, the province expects to draw over 2 million foreign tourists.

Hainan's free trade zone 

In April 2018, President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese authorities intend to actively involve Hainan in globalization and to draw foreign investors to the island province. By 2050, according to the authorities, the island should become a unique international cluster with an advanced economy, developed tourism, top-notch scientific, technical and financial potential, and modern medicine. The branches of the best universities and offices of the most powerful corporations in the world will be located on the Island of Hainan. 

By 2025, the Chinese government intends to create an "international center for tourism and consumption" on Hainan. In order to do so, the "Eastern Hawaii" with their unique natural landscapes, thick rainforests and great climate will establish a developed network of hotels, which blend perfectly with white sandy beaches stretching along the coastline. The combination of an exotic subtropical nature and a modern eco-friendly infrastructure will boost tourist inflow to the island from the most distant parts of the world.