Regular cruises to be launched to Nansha Islands

Updated: 2016-06-22 02:31

By Liu Xiaoli,Li Xiaokun(China Daily)

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Regular cruise trips to the Nansha Islands will start operating before 2020, according to a document released by the government in Hainan province.

Hainan will launch major cruises of international standard to meet increasing demand and operate regular trips to the islands, according to a proposal put forward by the provincial authority this month.

It will also launch South China Sea trips with multiple stops, according to the proposal, which is aimed at promoting the tourism industry in Hainan. The province also aims to optimize cruise routes heading to the Xisha Islands.

The document proposes accelerating an upgrade for tourism facilities and the development of quality trips to islands.

The province plans a pan-South China Sea cruise line and cruise trip business covering countries along the Maritime Silk Road, the document states.

Sun Xiangtao, deputy secretary-general of the Tourism Agency Association in Haikou, the provincial capital, said, "The Nansha Islands are virgin territory for China’s tourism industry."

Cruises currently heading for the Xisha Islands are fully booked each time, he added.

A manager, who declined to be named, at Hainan Huizhong International Travel Service, which handles cruise reservations to the Xisha Islands, said the cruises to the Nansha Islands will be very popular.

Cruise trips currently only operate as far as the Xisha Islands, which are closer to Hainan Island than the Nansha Islands.

One vessel runs from Sanya in southern Hainan province to three of the Xisha Islands. It carries 300 passengers on four or five trips every month and started to operate in April 2013.

Passengers have to stay on the vessel overnight, but Xiao Jie, the mayor of Sansha, has said visitors will be able to stay overnight on selected islands where a military presence is not required.

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