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'Island of golf' makes Sanya hub for events

By CHEN BOWEN in Haikou | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-25 09:34
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A golf club at Sanya, South China's Hainan province, Jan 30, 2023. [Photo/VCG]

With its inviting environment and top-notch golf facilities, Sanya in the island province of Hainan in South China has become a popular destination for golfing enthusiasts in general and Hong Kong tourists seeking a memorable golfing experience in particular.

A group of 24 Hong Kong tourists arrived at the Sanya Luhuitou Golf Club on Sunday, ready to kick off their four-day golf tour and experience three types of golf courses in the city.

Seng-Yee Goh, the operating director of Golf007, a leading provider of golf-related services, said that within just three hours of opening the sales channel, all 24 slots of the group were sold out.

"Hainan has earned the well-deserved reputation as the 'island of golf'. It is a hub for international events that draw attention from golf lovers around the globe. The influential courses dotted in Sanya and its surrounding areas also capture golfers' heart and challenge their skills," said Goh.

Last year, the AJGA International Pathway Series — Sanya Open attracted 104 young players from eight countries and regions, including China, the United States, Thailand, Canada and New Zealand.

"Sanya's stunning golf courses, framed by pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters, offer an unforgettable backdrop for a round of golf. The vibrant green fairways juxtaposed against the azure sea create a visual feast for the senses and elevate the golfing experience to new heights," said a golfer surnamed Chan from Hong Kong.

Agreed another golfer surnamed Lee. "I would definitely recommend Sanya to other Hong Kong golfers. What's more, there are a plethora of tourist activities and attractions. It is now easy to travel from Hong Kong to Sanya, thanks to convenient travel options."

There are 11 weekly flights operating between Sanya and Hong Kong. In the first quarter of this year, the regular route between the two destinations experienced a surge in passenger throughput to 61,700 travelers, and the average load factor exceeded 70 percent, which translated to a 113 percent year-on-year increase in the number of Hong Kong inbound overnight tourists to Sanya, according to the latest statistics released by the Sanya Tourism Board.

With tourism trends evolving toward high-quality travel experiences, more people are seeking innovative ways to enhance their vacations, said Dai Yuying, head of the Sanya Lucheng Golf Association.

"Recognizing this shift in consumer preferences, the golf clubs in Sanya have embraced a proactive approach by collaborating with domestic and foreign travel agents to introduce enticing golf vacation packages that cater to the discerning travelers," he said.

As the summer season approaches, Golf007 has witnessed a surge in bookings in Hong Kong for Sanya golf tourism products, with tours already scheduled through July and group sizes exceeding 50 people. "We plan to extend the golf tour season in Sanya until the end of October," he said.

The strategic focus on developing golf tourism in Sanya is in line with the city's commitment to enriching its tourism product line and raising the bar for tourism quality, noted Albert Yip, director general of the Sanya Tourism Board. "With favorable policies such as visa exemptions for 59 countries, Sanya is well-positioned to attract a diverse array of visitors."

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