Promoting locations like Hainan can bring Western tourists back to China, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the world’s tourism industry. As restrictions start to be lifted, China faces an uphill task of attracting Western tourists due to the connotations of the virus originating in Wuhan. However, promoting Hainan, which is around 30 times the size of Hong Kong, will allow the visitors to see another side of the country with which it is rarely associated, including rainforest and golden beaches, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

According to GlobalData’s Week 10 COVID-19 Consumer Survey, 28%, 18% and 23% of the respondents in the US, Germany and the UK, respectively, have the least trust in Chinese products compared with countries from all other regions of the world. In particular, the US and China have experienced increasingly heightened political tensions in recent years. However, sun and beach locations such as the island of Hainan could attract Western tourists to the country.

According to GlobalData’s 2019 Q3 Consumer Survey, 43% of US respondents, 57% of German respondents and 53% of British respondents typically go on sun and beach holidays.

Ben Cordwell, Travel & Tourism Analyst at GlobalData, says: “This gives Chinese tourism companies an enormous, high-spending market to focus on. Hainan’s close proximity to Vietnam and Thailand also provides China with the opportunity to attract the large number of backpackers that travel through the region.”

A new Chinese airline focused on Hainan is being launched by a consortium of backers, whilst China also has plans to turn the island into a free-trade hub.

Cordwell concludes: “These developments highlight the potential that China sees in Hainan and the benefits it can bring to its tourism industry.”

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