Hainan daily interview with Yuval.
Q1：How many years have you been to China? When did you come to Hainan? What is the impression of Hainan?
A1：I arrived in Hainan Island in 2012 and have been in China for almost 7 years(how is 2012 to 2017 7 years?) . During this period these 7 years (same), I often ridden bicycle and electric bike to explore the beautiful scenery of Haikou as well as get lost whilestrolling the quaint old streets of the city. I got to know the warm hearted and friendly people. after 5 years in Hainan i can definitely say even though Hainan is a Magical place its far from being an international tourism Island. There are large cultural and development gaps between the province and 1st tier cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen or Chengdu. At the same time still much to learn from neighbouring islands in southeast asia such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Bali and ones in Europe such as Ibiza and Mykonos. On the other hand, this means Hainan has great potential for development. I think it will become a truly international tourism island in the future only if taking right measures and steps to position it in the right domain and for the matching incoming tourist segments, creating the right marketing mix, brands, culture products and matching them to the current and future offering.
Q2：Can you briefly introduce your work? When is it concerned about the internationalization of tourism in Hainan? Can you briefly introduce the list of internationalized transformation projects?
A2： I’m the CEO and founder of Unique 1 Asia Limited, leading company in south china market with presence in Hong Kong and Israel. Our company mainly offers tailor-made business development, consulting services, investment, attracting investment and management solutions to enterprises and government agencies. We also build bridges for China, Israel and European companies to facilitate business cooperation, promote project development, provide consulting, project execution, investment and management services. In addition, I have also received an honorary title by the Hainan Peoples’ government and hold the position of a council member of the Association for friendship with foreign countries. Our company works closely with the provincial government of Hainan as well as the municipal government of Haikou. We have executed cultural events, agriculture expert training, economic summits and technology cooperation platforms as well as established sister city relations between Hainan and Israel
Furthermore, we have worked with Chinese Fortune 500 and leading enterprises on various projects in China and overseas which meet the government strategic requirements and One Belt One Road Initiatives.
When I first came to Hainan in 2010, I began to pay attention to the challenges Hainan island is face when branding its self as inernational. Some cities on the Island, such as Sanya, Here is a “Four Seasons flower, long summer without winter” of the holy land, beautiful scenery, rich products, so the international development of Hainan Island has great potential. However, Hainan is not Sanya, Sanya is only one city our of the portfolio Hainan province can offer to incoming domestic and international tourists. If Sanya is the only target city then we limit the amount of the days the incoming tourist would stay and his spending. FurthermoreIn the past years, we have worked closely with the Provincial Tourism Commission as well s the Hainan Peoples’ government who both showed openness and understanding to bridging the current and future gaps. Together we came up with the idea to launch The Quality hunters Project, supported by the Hainan Provincial Tourism Commission and the Hainan provincial government and executed by our company. The main goals were to present the major challenges of the process that the island’s tourism industry development , and to provide a clear action plan with breakdown of tasks and projects which will improve the quality and diversification of Hainan tourism services. This survey was carried out by 11 senior travellers originating from various countries-Canada, Israel, Japan, Mongolia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, South Korea, Spain, The Netherlands and the United states. The team visited and experienced 34 tourist hot-spots on . They provided insights, personal experiences and compared them to the other islands they have visited before in order to build a database and base for future action plan. In order to experience Hainan like real international tourists, the travellers were asked complete their tasks in their native language or English while travelling, and use Mandarin only in special cases. Our company, later collected the information, did a thorough market research and submitted a step-by-step action plan to the provincial government mentioning the key elements currently gapping the Hainan and the future internationalisation goal. The core issues were to segment the international market and not only the countries, scan the needs of these segments, as well as build a strong entertainment and culture sector on the island while supporting the small-medium enterprises and the international community.
Q3：Tourism of Hainan is developed, in the days of living in Hainan, have you experienced any entertainment project? How to evaluate the tourism industry in Hainan?
A3： Hainan is a beautiful place, and i have travelled and explored many places- I was almost around Hainan, and I ever see the bustling of Haikou, Nanhai Guanyin , beautiful dancing coconut trees, beautiful scenery of Five Fingers Mountain, Wuzhizhou Island of the blue sea and so on. No matter how many times in Hainan, these attractions to be shocking and attracted by the beauty of these .
Since the establishment of the international tourism island development strategy in Hainan in 2009, the tourism industry in Hainan has developed greatly, and a large part of it has a direct impact on the tourism sector. Hainan’s urban profile has changed with the construction of modern infrastructure, real estate projects, and golf courses. There may still be some shortcomings in the internationalization of Hainan’s tourism industry, but I sincerely believe that Hainan has the potential to develop into an international tourism destination, as the Chinese State Council and the Hainan Provincial Tourism Commission are looking forward to. It takes full advantage of Hainan’s existing infrastructure, natural environment, religion and cultural landscape, while introducing new and interesting attractions to visitors both at home and abroad. Currently the offerings currently available in Hainan are quite limited, the segmentation should be matched to the existing ones. We have suggested the government to set-up music festivals, culture festivals, bar street and boos the culture industry as so far for entertainment the place is quite limited while comparing it to neighbouring islands or ones in Europe. Another insight would be to support the related international industries operating in Hainan in the culture- entertainment-tourism sectors more than 3 years was they understand the local culture and needs as well as international tourist and act as ambassadors for the island. If they fail- there is no hope so we must nurture their growth. I am full of confidence in the future of Hainan’s tourism industry! Of course, I also willing to contribute my humble contribution!
Q4：What do you think is the lack of tourism in Hainan? how to improve?
A4: The national and provincial government has built and provided a wonderful infrastructure which is mostly unlike any other government. The facilities are there to host guests. Now the main challenges include the vision, understanding the tourist needs, matching current offerings while creating new ones. Hainan now for example has many golf courses which aim at high-end tourists, their numbers are limited and their needs are very high, what else can they do in hainan except playing golf?
The idea is to segment major countries and their potential visitors (back-packers, mid-class, high-end, golfers, sailors and more) and see what Hainan can offer them now and what can it offer in the future. At the same time we MUST advertise accordingly as if they will arrive to Hainan and their expectations are not met this can be disastrous. There are some small issues to tackle as well such as English signage, more indication, offering more services in airports and more.
A crucial pain point is English training to the relevant tourism employees and supporting services which might take time- hotel staff, taxi driver, airport/transport/railway station informations.
At the same time as this task might take time, we can think about introducing a call centre just like the Shanghai EXPO one.
Another small issue would be automated machines for ticket collection for FOREIGNERS at railway stations as if one orders a ticket in advance he must stand in line to collect it which sometimes may take 30 minutes while in the rest of the world one can just print a ticket at home.
Q5: How does Hainan attract more international guests and how to improve international visibility?
A5： Hainan Island should increase the diversity of tourism activities, culture and entertainment options as well as the comprehensiveness of local culture and the unique nature of the material resources on the island. At the same time, we also need to improve food quality and hygiene standards, ensure the basic line of accurate information, have a choice of cultural diversity and public traffic facilities. Only do cultural characteristics, improve infrastructure, multi language information synchronization can attract more international guests. With regard to enhancing international visibility, I think that we should first of all be trained in the culture of tourism, English and cultural etiquette for all types of staff and taxi drivers. At the same time to improve all kinds of infrastructure, such as the International Airport and the construction of scenic spots, to fill in more information about Hainan Island in foreign tourism information website, participate in more international tourism exchange meeting. It will promote Hainan Island to more countries.
The key issue is segmenting the market we would like to attract and match the right channels as well as messages we would like to convey. For now, Hainan has hardly any offering for the young crowd and entertainment options, museums, culture, art exhibitions and so on, compared to neighbouring islands in the SouthEast Asia region and Europe while prices for accommodations are higher.. By offering fun activities that match the needs of the right segments and their wallet, Hainan can Win.
Q6：The future of Hainan tourism development, do you have any suggestions?
A6: Hainan first needs to locate the tourists it wants to attract. The purpose, background, age, and other elements of tourism. At the same time, comparing Hainan’s competitive tourist attractions and visitors’ expectations with the Southeast Asian region. This looks like a very good initiative to explore. At the same time, about the convenience of transportation for tourist attractions in Hainan, at the airport or at the railway station we can provide free travel brochures or multilingual identification. We can also build Hainan’s tourism quality brands for food, festivals, companies, restaurants both locally and internationally which are marketed in the right channel as well as providing right user experience while strengthening integrated tourism forms, such as riding,surfing, camping, golfing, partying and making Hainan is Fun for Everyone.