Gaming should not be part of the plan to develop a “free trade port” on the Chinese holiday island of Hainan, said on Sunday Liu Cigui, Secretary of Hainan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China. He made the remark during a meeting of the committee.
He stressed that while growth of tourism and technology business in Hainan was welcomed, the territory should steer clear of “prostitution, gaming and drug dealing”.
Beijing wants by the year 2035 to make a free trade zone on the Chinese holiday island of Hainan “more mature”, according to a central government paper released in April. The plan for Hainan did not mention gambling or casinos, but it did mention the possibility of horse racing and an expansion of regulated lotteries. Hainan currently offers the official welfare lottery and sports lottery found elsewhere on mainland territory.
During Sunday’s meeting, Mr Liu noted there had been cases in the past of car smuggling, speculation in property and land, overcharging of hotel guests and illicit lottery business. Such behaviour, which would “spoil” the development of Hainan, would not be “tolerated” by the local government and should be prevented, the Hainan official said.
The island has recently seen a new phase of a visa-free scheme for visitors that was initially offered only to those on accompanied tours. Starting from May 1, China has been offering visa-free access to independently-travelling tourists from 59 countries arriving in Hainan Province, according to Chinese-language media reports. Such individual tourists must however still organise their trips through travel agencies authorised by the Chinese government.
Previously, visa-free access was only available to visitors from 26 countries that were travelling in package tours. The new visa-free rules were to support the island’s reform and opening-up, said officials from the State Immigration Administration in April.
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