A landmark project for China’s hospitality industry
Scheduled to open in late 2017, the 226-meter-high Atlantis Sanya situated along Haitang Bay in Sanya, Hainan province, will be a landmark development for the domestic tourism industry, according to government officials.
“This project in Sanya is akin to Disneyland for Shanghai,” said San ya party chiefZhangQi during a ceremony on August 19 that marked the completion of the hotel’s construction.
Developed by Fosun Group, the 11-billion-yuan ($1.66 billion) Atlantis Sanya features 1,314 rooms that will be managed by Kerzner International, the same company that operates famed hospitality brand One& Only. The hotel represents Fosun Group’s biggest investment to date.
One of the main selling points of this luxury establishment will be its location amid a 53-hectare complex that houses China’s largest aquarium, a gigantic water park and villas reserved for short-term stays.
One of the most-visited coastal destinations in China, Sanya received 7.82 million overnight visitors — nearly the population of Washington in the United States — during the first half of 2016, up by 8.92 percent from the previous year.
Zhang expects Sanya’s tourist figures to continue to rise in the coming years, citing the growing popularity of Tourism 3.0, defined by how consumers today are more interested in the experiential element of a holiday instead of just shuttling around a city to catch famous sights.
Li Xinjian, a professor from the China Tourism Economy Research Center, echoed this sentiment, saying that an increasing number of Chinese consumers today tend to favor spa, shopping and sporting activities over sightseeing, and this would in turn create ample headroom for growth in the tourism industry.
Qian Jiannong, vice president of Fosun Group and the leader of Fosun’s tourism investment department, is confident that Atlantis Sanya will be a major money-spinner despite the fact that average room occupancy rates in Sanya have been dropping in recent years.
He said that there are about 70 “well-developed island destinations” around the world that enjoy a 20 percent growth rate in visitor numbers every year, and that Sanya is located at a latitude similar to these locations. Qian is also confident that the hotel can help Sanya become China’s first international leisure-tourism destination, noting that domestic tourists to the holiday destination currently account for less than 10 percent of the total.
Apart from tourism, the Shanghai-headquartered Fosun Group also deals in products ranging from insurance to fashion to luxury and even sports. The group first entered the tourism industry in 2010 when it acquired a stake in French holiday resort operator Club Med.
Fosun Group has since followed up with other investments in British leisure tourism agency Thomas Cook, the world’s largest theatrical producer Cirque du Soleil and Japanese luxury ski resort Hokkaido Hoshino Tamamu Resort.
The 53-hectare complex that Atlantis Sanya is located in will also house China's largest aquarium.