Blessed with the best air, ocean views, sunshine, beaches and rainforests, Hainan is called China’s “Health Island” and “Longevity Island.” Now, with the setup and construction of China’s first International Medical Tourism Industrial Zone, Hainan is greeting a brand-new development era. By Rita He
In ancient China’s Song Dynasty, one of China’s great poets Sushi wrote a poem about Hainan Island: “The scene here is the best I have ever seen in my life, I won’t regret having been here even if I have to die nine times.” During that time, Hainan was still a barbaric land.
Thousands of years later, the island has become a paradise with blue ocean, great sunshine, pure air and fantastic rainforests. Over the past few decades, enormous numbers of travelers have come here to indulge themselves by swimming in the ocean waves, walking on the beaches of fine white sand, bathing in the morning sunshine while doing meditation or yoga, drinking or chatting with friends or lovers in the sunset glow… Meanwhile more energetic travelers go to explore the authentic rainforests, dive into the ocean to appreciate the well-protected coral and colorful coral fish or visit the Daoist sacred land, Da Xiao Dong Tian.
Air, Ocean, Sunshine, Beach, Green Space
As China’s second-largest island and the only tropical island in mainland China, Hainan Island boasts all the five elements favored by travelers all over the world: pure air, blue ocean, warm sunshine, clean beaches and large green spaces. Covering an area of 35,000 square kilometers with an annual average temperature of 23.8 degrees, Hainan Island always has delightful weather and is an ideal place for a vacation. Thanks to the oceans surrounding the island, forest coverage reaching up to 61%, an industrial structure in combination with agriculture and tourism and its positioning as China’s “biological island”since 1999, the air quality of Hainan always ranks top in China. In 2016, 99.4% days had good air quality.
Luxury Hotels and Spas Cover the Coast
Hainan Island has a lot of fine coastlines. Sanya, which has been under constant development as China’s luxury travel and vacation destination since 1992, is probably the best known. The first location was Yalong Bay, followed by Dadonghai and Sanya Bay. In recent years, Haitang Bay, Clearwater Bay, Yazhou Bay and Xiangshui Bay are also evolving rapidly.Various upscale tourism properties have flourished, offering guests distinctive holiday experiences.
As a veteran of Sanya tourism, Yalong Bay was built to be a National Tourism Resort 25 years ago. The veteran resorts include Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa, Yalong Bay Mangrove Tree Resort, The Ritz Carlton, Sanya, Hilton Sanya Resort & Spa, Sheraton Sanya Resort and more. Each of them has contributed to improving the Chinese model spa vacation. At that time, even in China’s top cities like Shanghai and Beijing, there were only a few hotel spas and small day spas. Sanya was the first place to have spa resorts in China. Chinese tourists became spa guests and were enlightened in these spa resorts in Yalong Bay.
Next to the urban district of Sanya, Sanya Bay extends 22 kilometers with fine sands and green trees. The SpaChina Summit & Awards was held at the Mandarin Oriental, Sanya in 2010. The hotel has a 3,200 sq.m. Spa Village offering guests outstanding spa concepts and treatments.
Built on a crescent beach, Dadonghai possesses a vast calm patch of ocean as well as white sand, bright sunshine, blue water, green vegetation as well as a unique tropical climate. Banyan Tree Sanya, InterContinental Sanya Resort and Anantara Sanya Resort & Spa are located here. Moreover, the famous VOLVO Sanya Serenity Marina was known well as a “private marina”. The Sea Hall is designed by world-renowned architect Mr. Tadao Ando. Sanya Luhuitou Golf Course offers a modern and luxury lifestyle.
In Sanya’s city development plan, Haitang Bay is positioned to be an ecological city amalgamation based on the combination of research development, international communications and vacationing in tropical rural scenes. Many world-famous resort brands have moved into Haitang Bay, such as Conrad Sanya Haitang Bay, Doubletree Resort by Hilton Sanya Haitang Bay, Renaissance Sanya Resort & Spa, Kempinski Hotel Haitang Bay and The Westin Sanya Haitang Bay Resort. In 2011, the 301 Military Hospital was completed as the officials’ sanatorium, which again proved Haitang Bay to be a promising “awesome place”.
Clearwater Bay is a world-class international beach community for group leisure travel, business investment or living. Here, the Raffles Hainan opened in 2013 has the finest and best sand in Sanya. Right after its opening, The SpaChina Summit and Awards was held there.
Thanks to its favorable environment and the many upscale luxury hotel and spas, Hainan Island’s tourism industry has maintained considerable development momentum in recent years. In 2016, Hainan’s total tourism income reached RMB66.962 billion with an annual growth of 16.97%. The whole island has received more than 60million tourists.
Thanks to the resorts and spas in Sanya, Chinese lifestyles are changing from “tourism” to “vacation”, then on to “wellness tourism”. On the other hand, tourists demand that the resorts in Sanya should be equipped with “spa” because 85% of them will experience the spa service. Spa centers have become one of the most important parts of Sanya resorts.
The New Development Era of Boao
As China’s health Island and longevity island, Hainan also boasts great resources and a natural environment for developing medical & wellness tourism. Indeed, the Medical & wellness tourism industry has already become an important direction of Hainan’s economic development.
Early in 2013, China’s State Department approved the set up of Hainan Boaoyuecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot, which is going to be the only international medical tourism industrial zone in China. To support its development, the government has offered companies that enter the industrial zone a series of preferential policies, including fast examination and approval of medical equipment, medicine and technology imports, allowing foreign capital to set up medical organizations, reducing import duties on some medical equipment and medicine, etc. The purpose is to create a world-class medical tourism destination and a communication and cooperation platform for medical industry both at home and abroad. The industrial zone is also an exploration for China’s medical tourism development. China’s Premier Li, Keqiang called it “the second chapter” of Boao after the Hainan Boao Asia Forum.
Now, after four years’ preparation, Hainan Boaoyuecheng International Medical Tourism Pilot is seeing great development opportunities. By March 2017, the Medical Tourism Pilot Management Committee had received cooperation intentions on 92 programs, with official evaluation started for 58 programs, of which 36 already passed medical technology assessment, and 20 programs under construction. The total investment on the pilot program has already reached RMB19.8 billion.
Currently, several programs have already opened for operations, including Hainan BoaoYiling Life-care Center co-established by Hainan BoaoYiling Anti-aging Rejuvenation Medicine Co.,Ltd and Medicine College of Aston University in Britain, Medicine College of Cambridge University and Ukraine Cytotherapy Center; Hainan Provincial Tumor Hospital USA Top Pregnancy Medicine Center co-established by Hainan Provincial Tumor Hospital Co., Ltd, American Mayo Clinic Hormel Institute and Deutsche-China Medical Association, Boao Evergrande International Medicine Center co-established by Evergrande Wellness Industry Group and Harvard University affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Hainan Boao MediCell International Medical Center co-established by Anhui Fibrocell Science Co., Ltd, American Fibrocell Science Company, Japan State Owned Biological Vector Company and Japan Tokyo Apex Hospital, etc.
It is said that in the next ten years, the industrial scale of the Medical Tourism Pilot is expected to exceed RMB50 billion. By then, medical tourists to the Pilot will account for 10% of Hainan’s total overnight guests. It is safe to say that Hainan is greeting a brand-new era in its development history.