Believe it or not, the picture above does not show the Caribbean, Hawaii or the southern Pacific coast. This is China, or rather Hainan Island - the southernmost point in the Celestial Empire and the favorite holiday destination of the «new Chinese».
Secured Russian and Korean amateurs of popular routes have also appreciated the delights of local recreation, but they are unlikely to stay there in blissful solitude for a long time. Already now the island offers visa-free regime for citizens of the United States, Canada, and several European countries, and soon the list should expand.
This is no surprise, because the Chinese government has serious views of Hainan as a future luxury holiday destination on the French Riviera. What is encouraging is that the main focus will be on yachting. In April this year, more than three thousand people will gather at the Hainan Rendez-Vous, a huge millionaire»«fair that will introduce everyone to the future Chinese Riviera.
The exhibition will be held from April 2 to 4 at Visun Royal Yacht Club - the first marina of international level in the country. In addition to the yacht show itself (modestly limited to megayachts), the organizers promise an exhibition of private jets and everything that falls under such an exciting definition of «luxury lifestyle». At Visun Royal Yacht Club, the first phase of construction is now drawing to a close, but in the future the Chinese expect several dozen of the club's hundreds of berths to be occupied by megayachts.
The list of shipyards that have already announced participation in the salon makes one believe in the seriousness of the host's intentions. In addition to the large serial shipyards (Sunseeker, Ferretti, Azimut-Benetti), Hainan will be visited by such monsters as Royal Huisman, Blohm + Voss and Lürssen. The names and models of the participating boats have not yet been announced, but the organizers say that this will be the first time in China to present a boat longer than 50 meters. Another record is the largest number of boats exhibited at the same time in the country's history. Shipbuilders will be joined by manufacturers of propulsion systems and equipment as well as suppliers of related yachting services. The organizers «of the rendezvous are» planning to hold a discussion forum on a number of legal and environmental topics, as well as sea tourism.
According to Liu Baomingue, Governor of the Province, «Hainan will resolutely develop the local marine leisure and yachting industry as part of its expanded tourism strategy». Hainan is already a sister to 32 regions around the world, including Hawaii, Prince Edward Island of Canada, the Balearic and Canary Islands and even Thai Phuket.
Local tourism officials unanimously claim that Hainan is simply designed for cruises and the yachting lifestyle in general. There is no reason not to trust them: the region deservedly boasts thousands of kilometers of beautiful coastline, scatterings of small islets, and a very rich maritime history. The island, by the way, lies at the same latitude as Hawaii and rarely sees less than 300 sunny days a year.
The owners of Visun Royal Yacht Club are going to make the most of these benefits, while promising to preserve the beauty for future generations. Given that the Chinese do not throw such promises in vain, it is safe to say that the French Riviera on the opposite side of the huge continent has a worthy opponent, and captains and owners have a new, very interesting and exotic destination.