China: Representatives from South China’s Hainan province expressed their readiness to enhance exchanges and collaboration with South Korea during the Hainan Free Trade Port promotion event held in Seoul on Friday.

It was the first time in six years that Hainan held a large-scale, comprehensive promotion event in the city.

The event, which brought together over 200 delegates from the government, business, tourism, aviation, and media sectors, fostered dialogue and networking and explored new avenues for partnership and growth between Hainan and South Korea.

In the opening speech, a representative from Hainan province used “outgoing,” “progressive,” “energetic,” and “noteworthy” to encapsulate the current situation and the bright prospects of the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port (FTP). The representative then underscored Hainan’s position as a new highland of China’s opening up, showcasing the province’s commitment to fostering an environment conducive to international trade and investment.

During the event, the Hainan provincial department of tourism, culture, radio, television, and sport unveiled four cooperation plans to enhance collaboration with South Korea.

Hainan will work closely with major tourism enterprises and airlines in South Korea to facilitate the opening of more direct flights between the two regions. A regular tourism cooperation mechanism will also be established to promote mutual transport, multi-stop itineraries, and joint marketing efforts to attract more tourists.

Besides, both sides will further strengthen research and study exchanges among young people in the fields of tourism, sports, and culture. They will expand investment and cooperation channels for tourism and cultural enterprises.

The department and two major South Korean tourism groups, Hanatour and Modetour, as well as two airlines, T’way Air and Air Busan, signed strategic cooperation agreements. The agreements cover a range of initiatives, including plans for increasing the frequency of flights, joint marketing efforts, and facilitating seamless travel experiences for tourists.

The close geographical proximity between South Korea and China, coupled with Hainan’s reputation as a beautiful and warm island destination in China and even the world, has laid the foundation for increased tourism collaboration between the two regions, said Jeon Byeong-guk, the first vice minister of South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.

With the efforts of tourism executives from both South Korea and Hainan, as well as the introduction of more flights connecting South Korea and Hainan and preferential travel policies, the number of South Korean tourists visiting Hainan is expected to rise, paving the way for a vibrant and dynamic relationship in tourism, sports, and culture, he added.

South Korea is the second-largest source of inbound tourists for Hainan. There are four routes between the two regions, with daily flights ensuring seamless connectivity. From January to April this year, Hainan received about 20,000 South Korean tourists, and the annual number is expected to exceed 80,000.

Beyond tourism, South Korea plays a pivotal role as an important trading partner for Hainan. In 2023, Hainan’s trade in goods increased by 56.5 percent and trade in services skyrocketed by 894.7 percent. Hainan’s actual use of South Korean investment reached 180 million yuan ($24.9 million) last year, and the province doubled its direct investment in South Korea by $5.76 million.

Source: Hainan is ready to improve collaboration with South Korea (ecns.cn)

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