China Fosun dials up tourism push with $1.74 billion Atlantis Sanya luxury resort

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SANYA, China (Reuters) – China’s Fosun International Ltd (0656.HK) on Saturday launched its Atlantis Sanya luxury resort in a $1.74 billion bet that the sail-shaped development will become an icon in Hainan – China’s Hawaii – and a beacon to tourists domestic and abroad.

FILE PHOTO: A company logo of Fosun International is seen at the Fosun Fair held alongside the annual general meeting of the Chinese conglomerate in Hong Kong, China May 28, 2015. REUTERS/Bobby Yip/File Photo

The conglomerate’s 11 billion yuan ($1.74 billion) investment in China’s southernmost province is in line with the central government’s desire to further boost tourism in Hainan, already popular among Chinese holidaymakers.

Fosun, co-founded by Chinese billionaire Guo Guangchang, has been one of the country’s most acquisitive overseas dealmakers.

But like peers including Dalian Wanda Group and HNA Group, Fosun – China’s largest privately held conglomerate – has faced increased scrutiny by Beijing for debt-fuelled, big-ticket foreign deals and is now pursuing a development path more closely aligned with Beijing’s priorities.

Tourism is viewed as key to China’s shift towards a more consumption-driven model of economic growth from an investment and export-led one. Beijing aims to raise the country’s tourism market revenue to 7 trillion yuan by 2020, from 5.3 trillion yuan last year.

Located on Haitang Bay, one of the major bays in Sanya and known for its 22-kilometre strip of white, sandy beaches, Atlantis Sanya was inspired by Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. The integrated resort offers hotel suites with views of underwater marine life, as well as a water park and a shopping mall.

“Atlantis Sanya is not only a forerunner of the supply-side reform of the tourism industry, but is also becoming a new landmark of Hainan tourism,” Xu Zhenling, vice mayor of Sanya said at a news conference on Saturday ahead of the resort’s grand opening scheduled for the evening.

She said the resort will also raise Hainan’s profile overseas, as the island province – China’s largest economic development zone – seeks to further open up its economy and focus on developing modern tourism, services and high-technology industries.

($1 = 6.3325 Chinese yuan renminbi)

Reporting by Shu Zhang and Bobby Yip in SANYA; Writing by Ryan Woo; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell

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