As the “One Belt One Road” increasingly becomes central to regional trade, tourism authorities of China’s Hainan province and Sihanoukville have laid the groundwork to rev tourism sector between the two destinations to a new level.
The Hainan Airlines Travel Group launched an air route between Sihanoukville and Haikou City, the capital of Hainan on July 15 as part of their strategy to promote tourism.
Zhang Kunrong, deputy director of Haikou Tourism, Culture, Broadcasting and Sports Bureau, said that Haikou city and Sihanoukville are important strategic partners to promote the “One Belt One Road”, which is an international trade development agenda that is actively promoted by Beijing.
“The opening of the route from Haikou to Sihanoukville will further deepen the cooperation and communications between Haikou City and Sihanoukville and ultimately promote the economic and social development of the two places,” added Zhang.
Hainan authorities organised the “Haikou-Sihanoukville Tourism and Airlines Route Promotion Symposium” on July 18 to further deepen the understanding of tourism-related resources, tourism products and the development of the industry in the province, which is located in southern part of China.
Fu Fenghua, deputy director of Department of Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports of Hainan province, said “2019 is the China-Cambodia Cultural and Tourism Year” and the symposium was an important move to enhance tourism activities between the two destinations.
“Since the declaration of ‘construction of a free trade zone’ was announced by [China’s] President Xi Jinping, tourism has become the first important industry in Hainan province.
“Hainan province attaches great importance to develop the Cambodian tourist market, especially the Sihanoukville province, where tourism is also developed. After the two routes from Hainan to Sihanoukville are opened, tourism exchanges and cooperation between the two places will continue to deepen,” he added.
Speaking at the event, Tang Soche Tkresna, director of Sihanoukville Provincial Tourism Department, said that 80 per cent of the province’s 220,000 population are Buddhists and it can attract tourists from Hainan.
“Sihanoukville is the major tourist province in Cambodia. Recently, the tourism industry in Sihanoukville has grown by leaps and bounds, receiving 500,000 foreign tourists per year, and Chinese tourists make up the largest proportion among the total number,” he said.
Ding Jiabin, president of Hainan Airlines Travel Group, said that Hainan province and Sihanoukville have similar tourism resources.
“Both provinces are important economic development zones and own the largest trade port. With the construction of the ‘One Belt One Road’ and construction of the free trade zone in Hainan, the two provinces become close cooperative partners.
“I hope that the opening of the route from Haikou to Sihanoukville can promote exchanges and cooperation between the two regions in the field of culture, economy, trade, tourism, and shipping,” he added.
Some twenty representatives from Sihanoukville and the media visited Hainan on a five-day tour organised by the Hainan Airlines Travel Group. The carrier flies thrice a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) directly to Sihanoukville.