China’s Hainan set for tourism boom: WTTC

The Chinese province of Hainan is on track to become one of the world’s leading tourist resort destinations by 2021, according to a new report from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

The WTTC report finds that 2021 tourism expenditure in Hainan will be roughly equivalent to that of Singapore today, and the industry will support as many jobs as in Malaysia and Italy currently.

  • International tourism expenditure (visitor exports) is expected to grow by 12.6% every year over the 10-year period 2011 to 2021 to US$17.5bn, which would make the Hainan tourism economy comparable in size to Singapore’s tourism economy now
  • In 2011, Travel & Tourism contributed 35% of the province’s GDP and is expected to rise to 46% of GDP by 2021
  • If it were a country in its own right, this growth in travel and tourism’s total contribution to GDP would propel Hainan up the WTTC League Table ranking, from 54th position in 2011 to 13th in 2021, a position currently occupied by Russia
  • Hainan already outranks both Hong Kong and Macau in terms of number of jobs supported by travel and tourism
  • Nearly 550, 000 jobs will be created directly by travel and tourism in the province over the coming decade, and a further 800,000 if the wider impacts of the industry are taken into account
  • Total visitor numbers in 2010 were almost 26 million, representing growth of 14% per annum in the 15 years from 1995. As a result, no other destination in the world, whether province or country, has attracted such huge interest from so many different sectors of the industry, including virtually all the leading international hotel brands, in such a short space of time

Such rapid growth though does have some risks. It is important for the Hainan provincial government to ensure a carefully planned, island-wide approach, ensuring a spirit of co-operation and co-ordination among the different stakeholders, not to mention the best interests of the local population at all times.

This will help ensure that travel and tourism does achieve the higher-end goals of sustainable development, contributing to natural and cultural heritage protection and preservation, as well as poverty alleviation.

Click here to download a PDF of the full report.