Fujian's Pingtan aims to build itself into world-class tourism island

Updated: 27 Apr 2013
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Boasting a wide range of natural tourist resources, Pingtan hopes to build itself into a world-class tourism island.

Experts from both sides of the Taiwan Straits congregated at the 2013 Strait Tourism Culture Development High Profile Forum that convened in Fuzhou on April 13, exploring ways to integrate cultural tourism resources and geographical advantages in the province's Pingtan county, the closest spot to Taiwan on the Chinese mainland .

Pingtan should "make the first move" to development tourism while enjoying a slew of preferential polices from central and provincial governments to boost its construction of an international tourist island, said Yuan Shuqi, a professor with the Tourism Institute of Fujian Normal University.

The Fujian provincial government included Pingtan Island in a marine development plan mapped out last year. It recently issued a directive on the tourism industry to support construction of a large-scale tax-free shopping mall in Pingtan as well as maintenance of a shipping route between Pingtan and Taichung.

The central departments have been paying attention to Pingtan's development, said Chen Wenbo, an official from the administrative committee in the Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone. In March, Zhang Zhijun, minister of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, visited Pingtan following his new appointment. The National Development and Reform Commission published industrial development guidance in February. Another cross-Straits marine route linking Pingtan and Taipei is expected to open this month.

Chen also revealed that Pingtan has become the second mainland market to enjoy tax exemptions on small commodities transactions after being approved by the Ministry of Finance. The move will attract a number of tourists for shopping and boost the tourism industry.
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One of the major cultural projects in the province – Haitan Ancient Town in Tannan Bay – will play a crucial role in Pingtan's brand–building efforts.

The 5A project, with an investment of 6.8 billion yuan ($1.1 billion), is expected to accommodate more than 300 million tourists annually after the completion of construction late this year.

Haitan Ancient Town is designed to become a tourist complex with traveler accommodations, shipping resources and recreation facilities.

"After its completion, Haitan Ancient Town will hand in more than 100 million yuan in taxes and provide jobs to nearly 10,000 people," said Chen Wenbo. "It will become a new growth point to Pingtan's cultural tourism and economy and change the tourism pattern in Fuzhou city, Fujian province and even the Southeast China coastal area as a whole."
SOURCE: China Daily
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