HAIKOU, March 18 (Xinhua) -- South China's island province of Hainan will start to build scenic highway around the main island this year to boost its tourism infrastructure, local media reported Monday.
Work on the highway around the island is expected to begin in May, according to the China Daily newspaper.
The route, called Hainan Highway 1, will provide breathing-taking views, with one-fifth or 208 km stretching along the sea and other parts passing by cliffs, wetlands, dunes, grasslands, farmlands and forests.
The two-lane highway will link with 6,000 km of existing roads in 12 coastal cities and counties to create a 1,040-km loop around the island province, according to the Hainan Provincial Development and Reform Commission.
It will be supported by 5G technology, GPS positioning and big data, for intelligent management and real-time monitoring, and will include pilot projects for driverless vehicles and vehicle charging, according to the highway plan.
The road, to be completed in three to five years, is part of the plans to develop Hainan into a globally influential tourism destination by 2035. Wu Gang, of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Planning, said preparations are underway and bidding invitations will be sent out in the latter half of this year to world-leading designers of tourism stations, the newspaper reported.
"Each station itself will be a unique scenic spot," said Sun Ying, director of the provincial tourism authority. More than 76 million domestic and overseas tourists visited the island province in 2018, up 11.8 percent year on year, and tourism revenue grew 14.5 percent over the previous year to more than 95 billion yuan (14 billion U.S. dollars), data from the Hainan tourism authority showed.
Hainan opened its loop of high-speed trains in 2015, traveling at speeds higher than 200 km per hour and completing the 653-km island loop in about three hours.