Sanya Tourism Undergoes Transition
   2013-10-25 13:12:55    CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Wang

Tourists take a boat on the sea in Tianya Haijiao Resort park in Sanya city, Hainan Province on Wednesday October 23, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/Cui Chaoqun]

Families pose for photos under palm trees alongside huge stones which are scattered along the beach; this is the Tianya Haijiao resort park in Sanya City.

Sanya, located on the same latitude as Miami, is a tropical paradise city on China's Hainan Island. During this year's 7-day National day holiday period, more than 329,000 visits were made by tourists and travelers to the city.

"I came here with my children," said Ms. Li from Beijing. "They lived here for half a month last year, so this year, we decided to rent a house in Sanya. We started our trip in the Tianya Haijiao Resort Park; it's so beautiful." Ms. Li was paying her first visit to the tropical city of Sanya.

According to Hainan Daily, 56 percent of visitors traveled to Sanya for the first time during the National day holiday period. Sanya boasts a coastline of 209 kilometers and the city is rich in tourism resources.

"Many people come to Sanya because this place is famous; this is something we refer to as 'Reputation Bonus'", notes Dr. Shan Depeng from Sanya University. He goes on to ask, "Once Sanya runs out of this so-called "reputation bonus", what will be the intrinsic motivation for tourists to come here?"

Hainan Island has aimed towards becoming an international tourism island since 2010. But as Sanya continues to attract first-time tourists, can the city create enough excitement to keep them coming back?

"The reason why people come to Sanya is that they have never been before. After their first trip they would not come back. The development strategy for the resorts and the tourism products are mainly based around sightseeing. Now we are considering merging recreation with sightseeing in Sanya. The return rate of Hawaii can reach 65 percent as visitors go there for recreation purposes," Professor Zhu Qinfu of Sanya University points out.

According to Professor Zhu, Sanya should build itself into a recreational site on the back of sightseeing tourism. He also noted that as an international tourism island, Sanya has failed to attract more foreign tourists. Foreign tourists account for 4.37 percent of the whole, which is far less than the standard 15 percent, the level used to judge a city's internationalization.

"Sanya is well known for its natural beauty; the sea and sky, the pleasant weather, the palm trees, but these words are powerless in terms of promotion. Now Sanya is promoting family trips as part of its holidays, which are popular right now and growing fast," Dr. Shan of Sanya University said.

"We could introduce more sport events like the Tour of Hainan Island and golf tournament to Sanya. Besides, family trips and recreational trips could show tourists that there is more to do here than just sightseeing."

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