Hainan named as 'World Longevity Island'
Updated: 2014-09-26 09:33
Hainan province has been declared as a World Longevity Island by the International Expert Committee on Population Aging and Longevity (ISCPAL).[Photo/IC]
The Southern tourist resort of Hainan now has another attraction to woo global tourists - the chance to live longer.
The island province has been declared as a World Longevity Island by the International Expert Committee on Population Aging and Longevity (ISCPAL), according to a press conference held by the provincial government on Thursday.
Alongside South Korea's Jeju Island, Hainan was named one of the world's two longevity islands thanks to its outstanding natural environment and social welfare system. The committee decided to honor the province after conducting field research in 17 towns and counties in 2013.
Hainan trumpets a record of more than 1,900 centenarians, and about 1.2 million residents above the age of 60 by the end of 2013, amounting for about 13.36 percent of its total population, according to the the provincial committee on aging. By 2015, the number of octogenarians is expected to reach 170,000.
The tropical island is bestowed with high-quality air and water. A study by the ISCPAL showed that the hair of Hainan's centenarians has ample trace elements, which are beneficial to human health. For instance, the soil and produce in Chengmai county in western Hainan are rich in selenium.
Hainan's hospitable natural environment is the top reason to make the province one of the most livable places in China,which also contributes the most to the locals' longevity. For instance, Louyi village in Hainan's Chengmai county, which was honored as the "longevity hometown" of China and the world respectively in 2009 and 2012, is one of the top 10 largest longevity villages in Chengmai.Luoyi village is located in a volcanic rock area, so its water and soil contain rich selenium, which is a chemical element said to help prevent aging. Besides the fine ecological environment, a tradition of respecting elderly people also contributes to longevity here.
A couple of localities in Hainan had already been branded as "Longevity Cities" before the island was honored, including Chengmai and the forest-rich Wanning. Wenchang City is also famed as one of the country's top longevity spots.
The latest certification is likely to give Hainan extra firepower in the tourism market and stir a new round of health tourists, as has been the case for other places known for longevity in the country.