China will encourage new tourism-related activities in Hainan province, such as horse racing, sports betting and an instant lottery, to help build the province into a leading global tourism destination, central government authorities said.
A plan released by the National Development and Reform Commission on Dec 28 says work will be facilitated to develop a sports tourism industry, which will feature sports activities related to beaches, water, horse racing, aviation, motor racing and the outdoors.
Entry restrictions on participating in sports boat, aircraft, motor vehicle and motorcycle activities will be relaxed, the plan states.
It says Hainan will further explore the development of sports betting on large international competitions and an instant lottery.
“Implementation of the plan will boost investment in the province’s tourism sector from home and abroad. The policy to develop horse racing sports may attract attention from Hong Kong and Japan, where horse racing is well developed,” said Xie Xiangxiang, associate professor at the Tourism College of Hainan University.
Jiang Yiyi, director of the International Tourism Research Institute at the China Tourism Academy, said, “Hainan boasts great natural advantages for such aspects as integration of sports and tourism, sea fishing and development of sports-themed towns.”
She said the new plan will not only promote transformation and upgrading of Hainan’s economic structure, but also help it establish a modern service system.
The plan aims to build Hainan into a global travel and spending destination by 2035. New measures include implementation of a more open and convenient tax refund policy for travelers departing the island on boats.
Cultural tourism is also on the agenda as it aims to develop the international copyright trade and encourage exports of films, television programs, publications, shows, animation and games with Chinese characteristics.
The plan also aims to explore policies to allow eligible foreign-invested or Chinese-foreign invested companies to engage in auctions of cultural relics.
The province is expected to adopt a more open exhibition and convention industry development policy, allowing overseas organizations and institutions to organize exhibitions and conventions. Haikou, Sanya and Qionghai are three places designed as exhibition and convention centers in the province.