As popular Southeast Asian tourist destinations such as Boracay in the Philippines and Maya Beach in Thailand will see closures during the summer, many have cancelled their plans to enjoy some nice vacation time. While that's going on, China is trying to make it easier for foreign tourists to discover what has long been a popular tropical resort destination for mainland Chinese.
The Chinese government will be granting visa-free access to the island of Hainan in the South China Sea, China's southern most point.
From reports by China's Xinhua News Agency, the country's State Immigration Administration will now be granting visitors from 59 countries visa free travel without any need to travel with a group starting in May. This would be an addition of 33 countries as China's government hopes it would boost interest among foreign visitors to the island which has long been called "China's Hawaii."
The report from Xinhua also stated: "The change would help further expand the opening up of the tourism industry and attract more international tourists to travel to Hainan,” adding that the move would promote the aviation industry, tourism and economic development.
Most of the countries on the list include North and South American such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, as well as European nations such as Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands. The list also includes Middle East countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Also on the list are southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Among the popular activities to do in Hainan include water sports and hiking in the island's forests. As China's largest special economic zone, efforts are being made to make the island an international tourist destination by the year 2020. While over 60 million tourists from mainland China visited the island, it only broke 1 million foreign visitors just last year.