Hainan aims high on golf identity

Updated: 2010-03-18 16:01
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HAIKOU - China will try build southmost Hainan Province into one of the world's major golf tourism destinations, an official said Thursday at a seminar of 2010 Boao International Tourism Forum.

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"China encourages well-planned environment-friendly development of golf tourism, especially in Hainan, the country's only tropical island province," said Du Jiang, deputy head of the National Tourism Administration.

China's golf tourism industry is still in the beginning stage and enjoys huge potential, Du added, addressing an audience of more than 500 entrepreneurs and experts in golf tourism in a conference hall of Mission Hills Hainan, the largest collection of golf courses in the world.

Du's words came after the State Council, the Cabinet, approved a plan to build Hainan into an "international tourism island" in January.

Golf's entry into the Olympics program is considered a huge boost to the development of the game in China and the world at large.

"The biggest grow-the-game opportunity is Olympic golf," said Peter Dawson, secretary of Secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews (R&A), the governing body of worldwide golf sport.