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18 Sep 2018

China's government plans US$19.5bn investment into Beihai tourism
BY Tom Anstey

Based around the southern Chinese coastal city of Beihai, 17 major entertainment and culture projects are being developed on the South China coast

Based around the southern Chinese coastal city of Beihai, 17 major entertainment and culture projects are being developed on the South China coast
photo: Shutterstock.com

In a bid to boost tourism in the region, China's government has announced plans to invest CN¥134bn (US$19.5bn, €16.7bn, £14.8bn) across 17 major entertainment and culture projects on the South China coast.

Based around the southern Chinese coastal city of Beihai, three of the projects are worth more than CN¥10bn (US$1.5bn, €1.3bn, £1.15bn), with a further seven costing between CN¥2bn (US$300m, €256.5m, £228.4m) and CN¥10bn. The final seven will be worth up to CN¥2bn.

Tourism is a major part of Beihai's economy. In 2017, the city welcomed 30.7 million domestic tourists, an increase of 24 per cent on the previous year's figures. In 2017, visitors to Beihai spent CN¥36.5bn (US$5.3bn, €4.5bn, £4bn) – an increase of 28 per cent.

The city is in the country designated by the government as a "China Excellent Tourism City". The China National Tourism Administration named the destination for its unique natural and tourism resources related to the sea, including its sandy beaches, easily accessible islands, large seafood markets, coral reefs, marine life, forests, and an aquarium specialising in shellfish and coral.

The majority of the funding will be used to build five major tourism complexes, which will be worth a combined CN¥99.5bn (US$14.5bn, €12.4bn, £11bn).

China's ongoing theme park boom will be given a further boost, with the plans including three new parks. These will be developed at a cost of CN¥5bn (US$728m, €622.8m, £554.2m).

There will also be investment into tourist infrastructure, with CN¥11.5bn (US$1.7bn, €1.45bn, £1.3bn) allocated towards these improvements, which include high-end hotels, recreational facilities, sports arenas and improvements to the local airport to allow for an increase in the number of daily flights.

"The investment and construction of these facilities meet the requirements for the upgrade and development of Beihai's tourism industry," said a statement from the Beihai Tourism Development Commission (BTDC).

"They are of great significance for making up for the city's current shortcomings in terms of what can be offered to the traveler or visitor, expanding the range of tourism-related offerings, improving the overall level of tourism services, and speeding up the transformation of the local tourism sector into a new CN¥100bn (US$14.5bn, €12.5bn, £11bn) a year industry."

A number of international hotel groups have already agreed in principal to open properties in Beihai, including Sheraton, Hilton, Marriott, Intercontinental and Wyndham. According to the BTDC, this will lead to construction of further hotel developments by other major international brands in the future.

The investment, says the government is only the start for Beihai, with plans to invest hundreds of millions of yuan annually to offer continuous support for further development of the region's aviation facilities.



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