Xisha Islands to open to tourism before May

Updated: 2013-04-07 00:27


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Xisha Islands to open to tourism before May

Fishermen work near China’s Xisha Islands in the South China Sea in May 2012. [Photo / XINHUA] 

BOAO, Hainan - China is scheduled to let tourists visit the Xisha Islands in the South China Sea ahead of the forthcoming May Day holiday, said Tan Li, executive vice governor of the southern-most province of Hainan, on Saturday.

People will be allowed to visit the islands on cruise tours, said Tan at the 2013 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, which will open on Sunday.

Details on the tour routes, capacity of tourist reception and cruise ships will be released on a later date, he said.

The Xisha Islands are a cluster of close to 40 islets, sandbanks and reefs.

Tourists will eat and sleep on the cruise ships and can land on the islands for sightseeing, the official said.

Cruise tours are the choice as hotels and other facilities to accommodate tourists are inadequate, he said.

There is only one hotel with 56 rooms in the 2.13-square-kilometer Yongxing Island, the largest island among the Xisha Islands group and home to the government offices of Sansha city. In addition, there is no fresh water and all supplies have to be transported from outside.

The city was established last summer to administer more than 200 islets, sandbanks and reefs in the Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands and 2 million square kilometers of surrounding waters.

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