South China’s Hainan province is again the focus of attention from Asia and the world as it hosts the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, which runs from March 22 through March 25.
This year’s conference will include 18 Hainan-themed events, which is a new record, local officials said. The southernmost province in China will hold five sub-forums, based on the Belt and Road Initiative and Hainan’s economic development, during the conference.
According to Dai Zhen, deputy chief at the Hainan Foreign Affairs Office, a subforum named the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and Island Economy has invited many politicians, businesspeople and scholars from abroad to attend. Some of those include Sri Lanka’s minister of industry and commerce, high-ranking officials from Fiji and Malta, and the Indonesian trade minister.
Hainan will also host the ASEAN-China governors’ and mayors’ dialogue at the conference. Important delegates from six Southeast Asian countries－Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos and Philippines, as well as the domestic provinces of Hainan, Shaanxi and Heilongjiang and cities of Nanjing, Qingdao and Tianjin will attend the event.
Based on its industrial development, Hainan will organize some promotional events relating to finance, tourism, medicine and health. Such events include the Hainan international tourism and trade exposition, Hainan pharmaceutical industrial development conference, 2016 Boao health forum and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road music forum.
Twenty-five leading businesspeople from around the world and five think tank experts will attend a roundtable meeting organized by Hainan at the Boao Forum.
The Boao Forum for Asia, which started in 2001, has become an important opportunity for Hainan to showcase itself, local officials said. This year, the provincial government will organize a press conference to promote Hainan and invite foreign reporters to tour the island province.
It will provide the forum’s participants with local foods and entertainment performances. Handicrafts such as coconut shell vases and brocade of the Li ethnic group will be given to guests.
The coastal town of Boao is in the east of Hainan island and about 134 kilometers from the province’s capital Haikou. The Wanquan, Jiuqu and Longgun rivers meet in the town and run into the South China Sea.
The town boasts beautiful countryside scenery, hot springs, coconut trees and sandy coastline.
Wu Shicun, chief at the National Institute for South China Sea Studies, said the forum is a window for the world to better learn about China and Hainan. Hainan has benefited a lot from the forum in attracting tourists, projects and investment, he said.