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New airports for China’s holiday hotspot

Three new airports are planned for the tropical island of Hainan, a holiday hotspot which is still little known outside China.

While China gears up for the Beijing Olympics and the impressive new airport at Beijing opens, plans are afoot to build more new airports as the economy booms and China seeks to attract more holidaymakers.

Hainan island off the south coast of China is on the same latitude as Hawaii – and even calls itself the ‘Hawaii of the Orient’ – and is perfect for winter sun holidays. The island has glorious white sandy beaches and average temperatures in January and February range between 16 and 24 degrees C.

Hainan is very popular with Chinese holidaymakers, attracting around 18 million last year. But in contrast there were only around 750,000 overseas tourists. Now the island has ambitions to become as popular with holidaymakers from abroad as the holiday hotspots of Thailand and Bali.

Hainan island already has two airports, at the capital Haikou and the popular beach resort of Sanya. But now there are plans to build three new airports by 2020. These will be built inland at Wuzhishan, on the west coast at Dongfang, and on the north-east coast at Qionghai.

A sign of Hainan’s growing popularity is that low cost airline Air Asia has announced it will begin flights from Kuala Lumpur to Hainan in May to add to its existing four routes from KL to China.

European cruise company Costa Cruises is also including Hainan island on its cruise holidays from Hong Kong this Spring. The cruise ship Costa Allegra departs Hong Kong on 6 May on a 5 day cruise to Hainan and Vietnam.

Costa Cruises is currently offering discounts on early bookings on its cruise liners this Spring. Fares on bookings for the Hainan island cruise made before 6 April start from HK$2,106.

Written by: Nick Purdom