Direct flights part-financed by China to tourist island Hainan are being proposed by authorities rating Russia “a real VIP client”. Subsidies are on offer to foreign air carriers bringing business and tourists travelers to the industrial hub and famous southernmost holiday spot. Chinese municipal authorities have promised financial incentives to foreign carriers operating flights there, Jiang Dingzhi, governor of Hainan province, told ITAR-TASS on Friday, adding that “some 540,000 Russians visited the island from 2011 to 2013, and their number is still growing.”
But more than 60% of guests from Russia must make a change on their way to Hainan, he said. “This increases travel costs and makes travelling less comfortable. To resolve this problem, we offer subsidies to foreign air carriers willing to operate flights to Hainan. Russia is a real VIP client for us,” the governor added. “Russian guests spend an average 14 days on the island. Their spending accounts for 11% of Hainan’s tourism revenues. More and more Russians become acquainted with China through the window of our province. We are constantly expanding areas of co-operation,” Jiang said. “Initial interaction in tourism has been supplemented with joint medical activities, cultural exchanges and investments in industry.”
Significant potential existed for developing bilateral contacts, the governor said, noting that Chinese tourists were also interested in visiting Russia. Key destinations were natural attractions of the Volga river, the Ural mountains and Lake Baikal, alongside city visits to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and to Sochi, the Black Sea resort host of this year’s Winter Olympic Games.
“We hope Russia and China will organize big events,” said Jiang, eyeing his province’s prospects.