A slice of paradise lures tourists

A slice of paradise lures tourists

Could Sansha become China's Maldives?

According to tourism experts and businessmen the answer is: yes, as long as the city continues to open its doors and boost infrastructure construction.

No civilian planes are yet permitted to fly to Sansha. However, ferry services are already seeing a boom in business.

The Coconut Princess cruise ship, which made its maiden voyage in April, takes visitors to Yongxing Island twice a month, weather permitting.

So far, it has made 16 trips, ferrying almost 40,000 people and 7,000 metric tons of goods.

The only other vessel transporting tourists to Sansha is the Qiongsha No 3, a supply ship, which has docked at the islands 70 times.

"We've just finished a plan for transportation between islands, and we are hoping to get approval soon," Sansha Mayor Xiao Jie said.

Mo Qun will be hoping that the improved transportation will eventually open the door to air travel.

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