Air sports fever in Hainan highlights mutual promotion of sports, tourism-Xinhua

Air sports fever in Hainan highlights mutual promotion of sports, tourism

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-02 14:41:00

HAIKOU, June 2 (Xinhua) -- Southern China's Hainan Island has recently become a hotspot for air sports enthusiasts, as skydiving has surged in popularity among Chinese sports fans.

Shanghai-based Chen Yajun, a newcomer to the sport, has already skydived in Hainan four times. The first three experiences were from a helicopter, but this time she chose a fixed-wing airplane.

"It's an incredible feeling to jump out from a plane. Not only can you see the world from a different perspective, but also experience a profound sense of freedom," said Chen.

In recent years, air sports have gained significant traction in China, particularly in Hainan, where sports tourism is thriving.

"Skydiving is gaining recognition, and we've already sensed the immense growth potential of this sport," said Zhang Enming, general manager of Sanya Tahe Extreme Sports Club.

The renowned club set a national record for skydiving experiences with 166 people jumping in a single day during the Spring Festival in 2023.

According to Xu Liwen, secretary-general of the Hainan Air Sports Association, the tropical island's natural advantages make it ideal for developing air sports.

Hainan's warm climate supports over 340 flying days annually. Popular air sports such as paragliding, skydiving and drone racing are flourishing on the island.

Local government policies also play a significant role. "In recent years, Hainan has deepened the reform of low-altitude airspace management, creating a favorable policy environment for air sports," said Ma Chao, a researcher at Hainan Normal University.

The benefits of the Hainan Free Trade Port system, including visa-free travel for tourists from 59 countries and regions and "zero tariffs" for imported goods such as aircraft, have also been influential.

In 2023, Hainan led the nation in skydiving activity, with 4,200 flight hours, 10,700 takeoffs and landings and 45,300 trips by tourists. These figures represent 37.7%, 42.8% and 39.6% of the national totals respectively.

During this year's "Two Sessions", the low-altitude economy was included in the government work report for the first time, highlighting air sports as a driver of consumption and local economic transformation.

"Air sports break the limitations of land-based sightseeing, offering tourists a new aerial perspective of the landscape. This unique experience will open up new avenues for the tourism industry," said Xu. "The era of mutual promotion of air sports and the local economy is coming in Hainan."