Where’s the largest collection of golf facility in the world? Right, Shenzhen. But soon that will be Hainan, China’s southernmost province:
The scope of the multi-billion-dollar project is staggering. It occupies 80sq km of forest and shrubland – an area the size of Hong Kong island – in north-east Hainan, the island province long touted as China’s answer to Hawaii. Once completed, it will feature 22 golf courses, at a stroke doubling the number on Hainan today. It’s been in the works since 2006 and for more than two years, thousands of workers have been clearing trees, moving soil, building greens, fairways, clubhouses and luxury hotels.
Shanghai-based writer Dan Washburn writes for the Financial Times Weekend Magazine about golf’s secret boom in Hainan island, go here to read the fascinating story (h/t Shanghaiist). Dan, the man behind Par for China blog, is currently researching a book about the development of golf in China.
Today’s South China Morning Post looks at China’s decision to boost tourism in Hainan, with sports facilities of course:
To attract more tourists, tropical tourism facilities such as water sports and scuba diving will be built. A cruise harbour has been proposed to allow cruises from around the world to dock. Foreign cruise companies would be allowed to set up offices on the island. And as ambitious as it can get, the government said it also planned to promote “red” tourism – promoting communist history – and ethnic tourism.International events such as yachting, golfing and cycling are also mentioned in the document.
The government said it would explore sports lotteries, including those that apply to international games – immediately sparking speculation in the mainland media that Hainan could be China’s testing ground for a gaming industry.
The Hainan island is not the first in China to open ‘lottery’ business, and sure will not be the last.
Links and Sources:
- FT Weekend Magazine: Golf’s secret boom in Hainan, China
- SCMP: Hainan set on a course to tourism paradise (subscription req’ed)