China’s Cabinet has ordered its ministries and relevant authorities to give support to support Hainan province's tourism market and has approved the opening of duty free shops in four of the island’s cities, the Shanghai Securities News
reported. The four cities are Haikou, the provincial capital, Sanya, Qionghai and Wanning. Hainan, the smallest Chinese province, consists of several tropical island's off the country's southern coast, the largest of which is Hainan Island. Tourism is a mainstay of the province's economy with international cruise operators like US Carnival, US Royal Caribbean and Malaysian Star Cruises including Hainan Island as a stop. It has 44 airline routes, including direct connections with Russia, South Korea and England. Haikou and Sanya are the most visited cities. Sanya has more five-star hotels than Shanghai, playing host to international hotel operators like Starwood Hotels and Resorts, Marriott, Intercontinental, Hilton and Kempinski. The city earned US$1.15 billion (RMB8 billion) in tourism revenues last year, accounting for over 60% of its total economic output. Provincial statistics bureau figures show Hainan received 750,000 visitors in 2007, up 22% year-on-year, including 590,000 foreigners, up 27% year-on-year.