Xiqing He

The Hainan Province is China is targeting one million cruise passengers annually by 2020, according to Xiqing He, vice governor, speaking at China Cruise Shipping in Sanya, held by the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA).

That one-million passenger goal would be split between two ports, Sanya in the south, with four berths, and an expanded Haikou port in the north.

For 2017,  traffic is well down at both ports with the ongoing political situation between China and South Korea.

He said the province had 23 years of cruise experience, dating back to Star Cruises in the 1990s. Now, the aim is to build up both ports and strengthen the island's so-called cruise economy.

"Cruise is a priority for our (tourism) development," He said, adding the government has worked on tax and visa incentives for Hainan to further grow the business. "Even in winter," continued He," Hainan represents a wonderful destination for the cruise industry."

Chaojun Yan, standing member of the Hainan Provincial Council and secretary of the Sanya Municipal Committee, said Sanya has a strategic location, and is close to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan for itineraries.

"Sanya is an important starting point for the 21st century maritime silk road," said Yan.

In Sanya, two berths at the Phoenix Island complex will be joined by two more, set to accommodate 220,000-ton ships by 2020. In Haikou, plans call for expanding infrastructure to accommodate ships up to 150,000 tons.

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