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Hainan to establish global island research center

By Ma Zhiping in Boao | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-03-29


The Boao Forum for Asia International Convention Center in Boao, Qionghai, South China's Hainan province, on March 24, 2019. [Photo/IC]

Hainan will continue to build a more extensive platform for international cooperation for island economies under the framework of the Boao Forum for Asia, and also seek to establish a global island economy research center to serve policymaking and cooperation between and among island economies, said officials at a sideline session at the forum on Thursday.

Wang Sheng, director of the Foreign Affairs Office of Hainan province, said the center will bring together global island research sources to provide academic support to the policymaking of island economy systems. In-depth field research and comparative research on free trade zones will be conducted to provide intellectual guidance to the development of a Hainan free trade zone and free trade port with Chinese characteristics.

Wang was speaking at the 2019 Boao Forum for Asia, at a panel session on the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road: Island Economic Cooperation.

With a theme of "Island Tourism: International Cooperation and Sustainable Development", the session discussed the attitude island countries and regions should take toward tourism in their economic development and what approaches should be introduced to brand island tourist destinations.

Shen Danyang, vice-governor of Hainan, said there is huge potential for cooperation as Chinese tourists' needs for island leisure, cruiseliners, medical tourism and duty-free goods are expanding rapidly.

He suggested island economies share their experiences, further cooperate and jointly explore the opportunities Hainan will offer in its future development.

"Tourism is an important driver for local social and economic growth. It opens doors for many things but it could also produce burdens on ecological resources and the environment in the meantime. So a good balance between the two should be taken into consideration," said Gudrun Those Gunnarsdottir, director of the Icelandic Tourism Research Center, Iceland.

John Aquilina, Malta's ambassador to China, said Malta and Hainan have too many "common languages" as island economies and there are a wide range of fields for cooperation.