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At the center of the Asia Pacific economic circle, Hainan Island, part of the southernmost province of China, is not only the largest special economic zone in the country but also a key link on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, with ready access to international shipping routes of the South China Sea. It covers a land area of 35,400 square kilometers and administers neighboring Xisha, Nansha and Zhongsha islands, as well as their waters.

A pleasant tropical maritime climate and matured infrastructure have made Hainan Island an ideal habitat, especially for seniors or those seeking health benefits. The island knows no winter and has an annual sunshine duration of 1,750 to 2,650 hours, a yearly average temperature of 23 C to 26 C, and an average annual rainfall of above 1,600 mm.

The total population of Hainan was approximately 9.45 million by the end of 2019, consisting of diverse ethnic groups, including the Han, Li, Zhuang, Miao, and Hui. The urban population in the island province stands at 5.6 million, accounting for 59.23 percent of the total.

Sanya Phoenix Island [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Unique ecological advantages and abundant tourism resources featuring tropical coastal areas, pristine tropical rainforests, geothermal hot springs and rich ethnic customs have been fueling the popularity of Hainan and are turning it into an international hot spot.

In 2019, the afforestation area reached 153,000 mu (10,200 hectares), with the forest coverage rate hitting 62.1 percent, and the green coverage rate in urban built-up areas reaching 39.95 percent. Currently, there are 50 nature reserves in Hainan, of which 10 are at the national level and 40 are at the provincial level.

Throughout the year, the number of days with good air quality accounted for 97.5 percent of the year, with the annual average concentration of PM2.5 (atmospheric particulate matter that have a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers) in cities and towns was 16 micrograms per cubic meter, a 5.9 percent decrease compared with that of 2018.

Nanshan Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) Statue [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Wuzhizhou Island. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The island has become known worldwide for holding major events, including the Boao Forum for Asia, a BRICS summit, the first Lancang-Mekong Cooperation Leader's Meeting, and a Roundtable Conference on China-Africa Cooperation. In November 2020, the sixth Asian Beach, an inter-continental sport event, is slated to be hosted in Sanya, Hainan.

As of now, Hainan has tied sister regions bonds with 39 regions from countries around the world and established a friendly region relationship with the state of Washington in the US. The island province offers a visa-free policy to 59 countries across the world.

In the future, Hainan Island will utilize its advantages to push forward the construction of key industries and industrial parks, as well as major infrastructure networks. It will set its sights on economic prosperity, social civilization, and ecological living, as well as continue to be an ideal getaway for both domestic and overseas tourists.

Wedding of Li ethnic group. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Rich ethnic elements are also a big draw. Li people were the earliest inhabitants to settle in Hainan. Most Li, Miao and Hui people reside in Qiongzhong, Baoting, Baisha, Lingshui, Changjiang, Sanya and Wuzhishan in the central and southern parts of the island, while most of the Han people live in the northeastern and northern part of the island, and coastal areas. They all have helped to shape the island with their distinctive culture and folk customs.
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