Dubbed the “Hawaii of China”, Hainan – which means “south of the sea” – consists of various islands, including the largest and most populous, Hainan Island.
The province welcomed more than 76 million domestic and foreign tourists in 2018 – a 1.8 per cent year-on-year rise, local authorities said in January – while many more people have moved back because of its development.
“Hainan is very different now compared with my childhood memories,” Gabriel Chen, a Hainanese local who moved away to study in New Zealand about a decade ago, says.
“Right after the government named Hainan a tourism island [in 2009], locals became excited as they could sense that huge changes were coming. Then there were high-rises, hotels and tree-lined paved roads everywhere within just a few years.”
Seeing its potential, Chen moved back to Hainan more than a year ago.
“I can swim on the beach every day, drink coconut water and enjoy the clean air while I run my data product design company here,” he says. “People always think that I’m on holiday again.”
However, things are about to get even better. The local infrastructure has developed to international standards, ever-more impressive hospitality facilities are being rolled out, while locals’ enviable island lifestyle remains unchanged.
Need to check out what’s new in Hainan? Here are 10 things to know before you visit the sun-and-sea paradise.
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