Hainan isn't an "international tourism destination"

crowded Hainan Beach Chinanews.com.png

Two years ago when I was at Horwath, the Chinese government coined Hainan as "the International Tourism Destination."  I'd been consulting on several projects at the time, and when people wanted my two cents, all I could say was this:

"In 2008, Hainan had more than 20 million Chinese visitors, but less than 1 million foreign visitors.  Why are we so concerned about it being an 'international destination' when it can flourish with the domestic market alone?" 

But government claims to international stardom continued and in 2010, domestic arrivals grew 25% to 26 million as international arrivals declined.  Why brand the island as "the International Tourism Destination" or even the "Hawaii of China,” when 97% of arrivals are Chinese tourists who probably have more spending power than the average traveler from abroad.  When hotel developers and operators come to accept that Hainan is "the CHINA Tourism Destination", they may finally be able to position themselves with products and services that better cater to this lucrative market.