As the first China International Consumer Products Expo (“CICPE” or “Hainan Expo”) kicks off in Hainan, Sanya, located on the southern tip of Hainan Island, also one of the most popular destinations in China, is making a splash as attendees from various provinces and cities flock to the island. The Sanya Tourism Promotion Board has readied itself to introduce a reinvigorated New Sanya backed by the Hainan Free Trade Port construction plan.
Taking place in Haikou between May 7 and 10, the Hainan Expo plays a pivotal role in the development of Hainan Island as an international tourism and consumption center and establishes a platform for the promotion and trade of international consumer products. With a number of innovative mechanisms to enrich the environment for tourism and consumption, Sanya has shown its commitment to turning the city into a destination of both tropical island vacations and duty-free shopping.
Since China’s first duty-free store landed in Sanya on April 20, 2011, Sanya has contributed about 77% of the province’s off-island duty-free sales in the past decade (as of the first quarter of 2021). In the middle of last year, the island province introduced a new tax-free policy that increased the quota to RMB 100,000 and diversified the types of tax-free products on offer, which has set off a boom in duty-free shopping in Sanya.
In a bid to cultivate tourism by meeting the needs of more business and leisure travelers, Sanya has quadrupled its duty-free shops from one to four with the opening of Hainan Tourism Duty Free Shopping Complex (“HTDF Shopping Mall”), CNSC Sanya International Duty Free Plaza (“CNSC Mall”) as well as Sanya Phoenix International Airport duty-free store, and doubled its operating entities. With the generous duty-free shopping quota and a plethora of choices for consumers, the city is diversifying its duty-free business.
The Sanya Tourism Promotion Board is reimagining the city as a travel hotspot with new activities and themes designed to appeal to different tourism segments. The board has launched “Wonderland Sanya”, a campaign that seeks to attract young travelers to explore Sanya’s unique and vibrant possibilities across the five areas of food, travel photography, culture, outdoor activities and luxury hospitality. Also, the board recently partnered with Tencent’s Game for Peace to host a themed carnival, making the city’s Haitang Bay a new landmark of e-sports culture with a “cultural tourism + video game” crossover approach.
Sanya has also introduced a host of innovative mechanisms to promote the construction of an international tourism and consumption center. Leveraging the growing popularity of yachting, a yacht timeshare model has been introduced to make the aspirational pastime accessible and appealing to a broader range of tourists. It has also launched a series of reforms to support the development of the cruise yacht industry.
The coastal city has actively invested in a number of large-scale tourism projects. It has already opened the doors to the wildly successful Atlantis Sanya and Haichang Fantasy Town and inked an agreement to open a Hello Kitty Theme Park Resort in 2024. This continued investment has also attracted global tourism giants to settle in Sanya, with Caissa Holiday and Thomas Cook establishing their headquarters in the city.
Benefiting from the boundless new opportunities brought by the Hainan FTP, such as the Hainan Expo, Sanya looks to a new era as an international destination city for tourism and consumption.