Hainan province, which is the country’s only provincial-level special economic zone, will accelerate the building of an open economy, advance international industrial cooperation and enhance the development of service businesses as a national pilot zone, according to local senior officials.
They said the province will engage more with economic globalization and the Belt and Road Initiative, further expand its influence in the global community and establish a “pan South China Sea tourism economy cooperation rim”.
Liu Cigui, Party secretary of Hainan, said Hainan will help showcase China’s efforts in building a community with a shared future for mankind and realizing the Chinese dream of national revitalization.
Hainan always has been a pioneer in reform and opening-up, with Boao serving as a bridge to the outside world. There are more than 200 important domestic and international conferences held in Boao every year.
From a less-developed island, the province has become an international tourism destination that attracted 67.45 million tourists last year, seven times its population.
“Back in 1980s at the beginning of the establishment of Hainan province, it was rare to see foreign visitors,” said Huang Zejing, a photographer who has witnessed the island’s development.
Hainan, which marks its 30th anniversary as a province — the country’s newest — on April 13, is ready to embrace a new era for opening-up.
During the Boao Forum for Asia 2018 annual conference April 8-11, the province will hold “eight Hainan-themed events to further explore opportunities and insights for cooperation and development,” Wang Sheng, director of the foreign affairs office of Hainan, said on April 2.
Shen Xiaoming, governor of Hainan, said the province will continue to take advantage of the forum, launched in 2001 and known as the Asian Davos, and other exchange platforms such as the Roundtable Meeting on China-Africa Cooperation, to seek new opportunities for development and to better serve the general diplomacy of the nation.
A provincial government report said Hainan will create greater opportunities for both Chinese and overseas firms in its pillar industries including tropical high-efficiency agriculture, tourism, the internet and marine industries, each of which is forecast to generate more than 100 billion yuan ($15.9 billion) in annual output by 2020.
“A more vibrant mechanism and more favorable business environment for international enterprises will be developed,” Shen said.
Hainan has established sister relationships with 56 overseas provinces and cities worldwide, including Hawaii in the United States, South Korea’s Jeju special autonomous province, Canada’s Prince Edward Island, Finland’s Oulu province and the state of Penang in Malaysia.
Fifty-six air routes connect Hainan with Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan, and international destinations like Russia, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Germany.
International routes are expected to increase to 100 by 2020.
Cruise routes to the province have grown to 17, covering more countries in Southeast Asia, officials said.
Tourists from 26 countries including Austria, Britain, Canada, the United States, South Korea and Russia are eligible for a visa-free stay in Hainan, which will be extended to over 50 countries in the near future, officials said.