A beach football match hold in the city of Sanya, Southeast China’s Hainan province. (Guo Cheng/Xinhua)
The whole province of Hainan as China’s sports tourism demonstration zone is now exploring the integration of sports and tourism.
HAIKOU, China, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) — During China’s National Day holiday, more than 200 beach football fans took part in the Hainan beach football challenge at Riyuewan Beach in Wanning, a coastal city in the east of Hainan.
“It was especially exciting. Beach football requires sufficient physical strength,” said Li Bo, a participating college student.
“I used to play grass football with my classmates on campus, but I didn’t expect to be able to participate in beach football before playing in Wanning,” he added.
The beach football festival was also held in Haikou, capital of south China’s Hainan province. The diverse beach football matches attracted about 20,000 visitors, and a total of 8,200 people participated in the series of activities.
Ling Yun, deputy mayor of Haikou, said that Haikou is a key city for the development of beach football by the Chinese Football Association and has the potential to become a destination city for beach football competitions and sports tourism nationwide.
The beach football festival has driven Haikou tourists to consume about three million RMB (about 440,000 U.S. dollars) in five days, according to the beach football festival organizing committee.
A beach volleyball game hold in Haikou, the capital city of Southeast China’s Hainan province. (Yang Guanyu/Xinhua)
In the past two years, Hainan has held a national beach volleyball tour, the international beach football invitational tournament, and the beach teqball (a mixture of football and table tennis) performance tournament, which have expanded the consumption space of sports tourism.
Hainan was authorized in April 2018 to build a sports tourism demonstration zone covering the whole island in order to explore the integration of sports and tourism. ■