China's Hainan island becomes tourism destination through sports

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As a famous destination for tourists, south China's Hainan island has become an attractive choice for international sports events, making the sports tourism a booming business for the island province.

The annual Tour of Hainan has become an eye-catching event, both at home and abroad. Inaugurated in 2006, the international road cycling tournament even featured four inter-continental professional teams, 15 inter-continental teams and the Swiss national team this year.

"Tour of Hainan becomes the longest race for live broadcast in the world," said Chen Xiaohua, general manager of Tour of Hainan Co., Ltd, adding its coverage has spread to 51 countries and regions and reached up to 350 million viewers around the world.

The international race also ignited the sports enthusiasm throughout the island as well as the country, and cycling has become the hot choice for the fans as hundreds of thousands of people ride on their bicycles around the island every year.

Surely, Tour of Hainan has pushed forward the sports tourism to a great extend on the island, said Chen.

Besides Tour of Hainan, the island province has also hosted many other international sports, such as Hainan International Marathon, Volvo Ocean Race, European Women's Professional Golf Tour, World Longboard Professional Surfing, Blue Bay LPGA and World Women's 9-Ball Championship.

Through these events, Hainan is getting closer to the world, becoming more attractive to the sports circle, resulting in a booming tourism business throughout the island.

Last week, a surfing camp was set up at Riyue Bay in Wanning, attracting 70 young people across the country.

"It's an unforgettable experience for me, and Hainan is a heaven for surfers," said Wu Zhao from Wuhan, capital city of central China's Hubei Province.

While more and more tourists love to take tourism as a sports hobby, Hainan becomes an ideal destination for them "as we have unique natural sceneries all around the island," said Wang Jiansheng, chairman of Hainan Tourism Association.

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