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china-expand-visa-free-travel-to-Hainan

China set to expand visa-free travel to Hainan, the "Chinese Hawaii"

People from 59 countries will be able to visit Hainan, known as the "Chinese Hawaii", for up to 30 days without a visa from May 1. The Chinese Government wishes to boost tourism in Hainan, a tropical island known for its beaches, as well as its casinos.

The list of eligible countries for visa-free entry include the US, Russia, the UK, France, and Germany. The offer will only be available if travelers book through certain travel agencies.

A 15-day visa-free option has been available to citizens from 21 countries since 2000 and the Chinese Government has been expanding the scheme since. Five more countries were added in 2010.

Qu Yunhai, Director of the State Immigration Administration, said: "By extending the policy to individuals and the stay to up to 30 days, the government aims to attract more international tourists, nurture the tourism industry and meet the needs of foreign individuals."

The number of tourists going to Hainan has already been increasing. Last year more than a million visitors went to Hainan, almost 50 percent more than the previous year. Around 320,000 tourist entered visa-free in 2017.

Tourists from Russia, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and South Korea account for more than 90% of those who go there.

Tourism in Hainan on the rise

hainan-tourism

The Chinese Government plans to transform Hainan into a center for foreign investments by strengthening its ties with Hong Kong. It plans to set up trade services and help companies set up in the most southern Chinese island. President Xi Jinping said that this is an important effort by China to deepen its reforms and opening up of its economy.

Hainan already has 57 active flight routes to countries including Thailand, Malaysia, and Germany and there are plans for around 20 more. By 2020 it is expected to have over 100 overseas routes.

Hainan is the largest island in the People's Republic of China (PRC) and is situated in the South China Sea. The island has a subtropical climate, it can be humid and daytime temperatures vary from 16 to 21°C to in the winter to 25 29°C in the summer.

The island has over 1,500 km2 of tropical rainforest. It contains over 4,600 species of plants and over 570 species of animals. Frogs, toads, geckos, skinks, and butterflies are commonly seen and in the wilder parts you can see chipmunks and squirrels.

The island islands coasts consist of beautiful beaches and to entice more visitors to the island, the government has plans to increase the number of gambling venues.