by Troy Roennfeldt
Hainan proves promising for surfing professionals
Ask most Chinese mainland residents if they’ve heard of Hainan and you’ll probably find they have limited knowledge about the small island being touted as the “Hawaii of China”. But don’t discount the province – the smallest in China – as it’s set to rival hotspots in the region, including Thailand and Bali, and become a world-class tourist and surfing destination by 2020.
Four years ago the government made a state-level decision to make Hainan an international tourist destination and market the island as China’s first surfing destination. To support this a number of pilot schemes are already in place and the government has introduced ‘privileged’ policies for the island to help Hainan realise its ambitious goal.
Hainan’s population has grown by more than 17 per cent over the past 17 years, as has the nominal GDP. This is largely due to the increase of one of the Hainan’s pillar industries, tourism, which is proving to be a major drawcard for investors. Although the island is isolated from the manufacturing supply chains of the mainland and doesn’t have sufficient electrical infrastructure for large-scale industry, it is still China’s largest Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and Hainan’s economy continues to develop favourably towards tourism.
As the province quickly becomes China’s premier tourism destination, Hainan has realised the need to attract international visitors. The province offers relaxed business opportunities not seen elsewhere on the mainland, paving the way for international players to set up shop. Hainan has recently invested in hotel developments including the Ritz Carlton, the Sheraton and Mission Hills, a branch of the Shenzhen golf club. The island is also home to a number of important events – everything from Asian business forums, international surfing events to the Miss World beauty pageant.
The city of Wanning, in the southeast of the Hainan province, has advanced surfing resources and has successfully held three consecutive international surfing events, establishing Hainan’s credibility as the first high-quality Chinese surfing destination and helping to build a solid surfing fan base. Many of the surfers who have already discovered Hainan will attest to the island’s untouched, world-class waves, which are surf-able all year long. The local government has been prioritising international-standard competitions in an effort to develop the island’s surfing industry and also sponsors surf programs in conjunction with the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) and local clubs to promote the sport.
China Surf Report has been speaking with SurfCareers.com, a specialised recruitment website that connects surfers, ocean lovers and employers, about ways to showcase the exciting opportunities on offer in Hainan. SurfCareers.com covers all sectors of the surf industry including IT, retail, fashion, hospitality, tourism and accounting to name just a few. Job seekers have access to a myriad of advertised roles with global brands, including; Quiksilver, Rusty, Aquabumps, Oakley, Planet Surf and Surfrider Foundation Europe, who are already benefiting from using the site.
SurfCareers.com Director, Troy Roennfeldt, says, “We’ve already seen some amazing roles on offer in traditional locations like the United States and Europe but tapping into China is really exciting. Hainan is proving to be more than just another island – it’s an exciting and reasonably unchartered destination with great potential for diverse and interesting work opportunities. We’re stoked to be able to work with the China Surf Report to help promote the region.”
SURFCAREERS WEBSITE: www.surfcareers.com INSTAGRAM: Surfcareers