Hainan province's MICE industry - meetings, incentives, conferencing and exhibitions - is growing fast and becoming a strong driver for local tourism development, as more firms choose the tropical island for their showcase events, encouraged by government support, high-profile international summits and the island's natural charms.
Around 2,000 convention and exhibition activities were held in 2018 in Hainan. Events mainly took place in Haikou, the provincial capital at the northern tip of Hainan Island; Sanya, an international coastal resort city at the southern tip; and Boao in Qionghai, the permanent site of the Boao Forum for Asia, according to the Department of Commerce of Hainan province.
In all, 9,033 MICE activities were held in Haikou last year, up 17 percent year-on-year, with annual revenues seeing 18 percent growth to hit 12.2 billion yuan ($1.78 billion). As of October 2018, there were 12,960 registered exhibition companies in Haikou, statistics from the Haikou Convention and Exhibition Bureau showed.
"Apart from its natural climate and environmental advantages, the central government's decision to designate the entire Hainan Island as a pilot free trade zone has produced a very positive effect, inspiring the enthusiasm of domestic and international convention companies to hold exhibitions and meetings in Hainan," said Cai Qiao, director of the Haikou bureau.
"Government support, the 59-country visa-free policy and the newly expanded duty-free policy strongly boosted the convention and exhibition sector last year," said Xie Qiuxiong, an official with the provincial tourism authority.
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