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You might think trekking off the beaten track or visiting amazing sites of cultural interest but the chances are you haven't thought about China as an international tourism hotspot. But, according to a recent announcement by the World Travel and Tourism Council, that could soon be about to change. Hainan, China's smallest province, looks on track to compare with the likes of Dubai and Singapore in the world of tourist travel.


The September report from the WTTC detailed the growth in tourism in the Chinese province of Hainan and revealed that, on current performance, by 2012 the region could quite likely become one of the major tourist resort destinations in the world.

This growth in tourism in the region hasn't happened by accident though. A few years ago, China's State Council issued a decree that Hainan, an island group off the South coast of China, was to be developed with the goal of becoming a world class resort destination by 2020. Last month's industry report declared that the progress was good and the region was on target to reach its goal. If expectations are met, tourism levels in Hainan will compare to those of Singapore and Dubai.

For the traveller, getting to Hainan is no problem. The main island, also called Hainan, covers ninety seven per cent of the total land mass of the group and is serviced by not one but two international airports. Once on the island a high speed rail network, built in 2010, enables travellers to journey between north and south within an hour and a half.

Hainan offers much to keep visitors occupied.Tourists can find many sites of historic interest, from the Five Officials Temple and the tomb of Hai Rui of the Ming Dynasty. The huge Xiuying Fort Barbette with its huge cannons covers about a third of an acre and was built in 1891 to defend the south eastern corner of China. There are also attractions such as the Monkey Island nature reserve which is home to Macaques to appeal to animal lovers, as well as the Mangrove Natural Reserve. For soaking up the sun, the Yalong Bay beach stretches for four miles along the coast and boasts a string of five star luxury hotels. 

With its comfortable tropical climate, it should be no surprise that the region plays host to at least twenty five million visitors each year. Most of these are from mainland China, but at present up to a million are reaching the area from outside the country. Many of these come from Russia and Japan but if development continues this could soon change and bring more visitors from Europe and the United States to this region. Hainan is definitely one to watch for travellers in the know.


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