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China Daily Global / 2021-04 / 15 / Page004

Coastal highway set to boost tourism on island

By MA ZHIPING in Haikou | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-15 00:00

The Wanning coastal tourist highway in eastern Hainan connects a dozen beauty spots, including Shimei Bay, Nanyan Bay and the Shenzhou Peninsula.

The charming scenery along the 35-kilometer highway attracts thousands of tourists every year who want to go sailing, diving, fishing or surfing, or to take sightseeing tours on a yacht.

"We love the bays here, the tropical climate, palm-fringed white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, as well as the array of exciting water-leisure activities on offer," said Wang Ling'ai from Beijing, who has visited the area three times with her family.

Work on a 988-kilometer scenic highway around Hainan Island was launched recently to fully integrate local tourism resources and enhance social and economic development, the provincial transportation authorities said.

The route, dubbed "State Coast Highway 1", will be longer than California's coastal Highway 1 and will provide similar breathtaking views. One-fifth of the highway will stretch along the sea, and other parts will pass by cliffs, wetlands, dunes, grasslands, farmlands, rainforests and special feature towns, connecting 68 bays and 262 scenic spots, making it a masterpiece "pearl necklace" in Hainan Island, said Li Zhiqiang, deputy director of the provincial transportation department.

To be completed in the first half of 2023 at a cost of 14.3 billion yuan ($2.2 billion), the road is part of the province's plans to develop Hainan into a globally influential tourism and consumption destination by 2035. About 40 world-class service stations will be built along the two-lane highway, which will link with 6,000 km of existing roads in 12 coastal cities and counties, Li said.

5G technology, cloud computing, satellite navigation services and big data will be used to enable intelligent management and real-time monitoring, and pilot projects for driverless vehicles and vehicle charging will be built to turn travel into a smart technology experience, according to the highway plan.

Hainan opened a high-speed train loop around the island in 2015, with trains traveling faster than 200 km per hour completing the 653-km loop-roughly the same distance as circling Belgium-in about three hours. A 1,255-km expressway network around and across the island has been established, and more international air routes and sea routes are gradually being opened to link Hainan, China's largest free trade port, with the outside world.


Cars park along a coastal highway in Wanning, Hainan province, in February, as some tourists get out to enjoy the scenery. YANG SHIZHONG/FOR CHINA DAILY



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