Ancient Yazhou, New Development

By Zeng Chenying / / Updated: 11:22,25-January-2022

​The flotsam and jetsam of years gone by washed up on the beach of time is the cultural soul of a place. To lack culture and history, to be nothing more than blue skies and pretty beaches is to lack soul. With some 2,000 years of recorded history, Sanya's Yazhou District can be said to be the tropical resort city's soul. As part of the recent trend within China to embrace the unique aspects of local culture and integrate them with modern development, Yazhou District relies on its history and on the Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City.


Bringing intangible cultural heritage to life

In a ceremony held in Yazhou District in April of last year, the Nanshan International Intangible Cultural Heritage Center was officially inaugurated as an innovation demonstration site for the integration of culture and tourism. The Center's second floor is home to a themed exhibition showcasing Hainan's unique cultural charms to visitors from far and wide.

Aiming to promote the island's intangible heritage culture to the public, the exhibition chose some of Hainan's most representative intangible cultural heritage items as the carrier. Using folklore and narrative scenes, it combines illustrations, dioramas, multimedia videos, interactive virtual reality and heritage items to present the unique heritage of Hainan to the audience in a flexible and vivid way. The combination of physical items with audio-visual displays does an excellent job is bringing the things on display to life and ensuring that visiting members of the public learn and remember.

 “Tourism + Culture”

Accounting for 23 of Sanya's 31 cultural heritage sites, Yazhou District has the highest concentration of both archaeological relics and cultural heritage throughout the whole of the greater Sanya metropolitan area. The Yazhou Folk Songs (which have lasted for centuries), and the Li Bamboo Pole Dance (which originated in the District's Langdian Village) were both part of the first batch of items inscribed on China's national intangible cultural heritage list.


In order to encourage the popularization of traditional culture, the District has organized dragonboat races, an Ancient City Cultural Festival, Old Street Food Festival, Ancient City Cultural and Creative Market, Ancient City Drone Light Show, the Jinxiu Chinese Fashion Show, Nanhai Fishing Festival, and “Ancient Town New Sound” Original Music Festival. Furthermore, with the restoration of various cultural relics, Yazhou has been attracting a growing number of visitors interested in more than just a bit of beach fun.

For example, starting from National Day 2017, after the city wall renovation and the completion of the renovated Wenming Gate, the number of tourists entering Yazhou District saw a marked increase with the city walls and hashtags related to them featuring prominently on numerous forms of social media.

“Tourism + Technology”

Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City—as one of the 11 key industrial parks of the Hainan Free Trade Port—is primarily focused on the development of deep sea research and seed breeding. These two highly strategic industries have injected new energy into the whole area and have led to numerous local innovations in the “tourism + technology” development model.


The HNBM (Hainan National Breeding and Multiplication Base) Seed Propagation Science and Technology City and the Deep-Sea Science and Technology City have introduced a total of 15 scientific research institutions and 11 key universities to Yazhou. These include the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Thermal Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Water Sciences, Shanghai Jiaotong University, China Ocean University, and China Agricultural University. As well, the Great White Whale Sanya Ocean Discovery World—Sanya's first marine science education base—is a fine example of one of the valuable tourism+ projects to be introduced.

Continuing to push forward the integrated development of culture and tourism

Attracting many sightseers and photographers, the rural countryside which makes up a substantial portion of Yazhou District is well developed and features numerous innovative attractions such as the "beautiful village" of Ya’an, the "historical village" of Baoping, and the water lily planting base at Baogu Village. Three provincial-level beautiful village demonstration sites and four rural tourism sites have been established with Baoping Village being the best-preserved, largest, and most concentrated group of traditional Ming and Qing houses in the province.


Despite (or perhaps because of) its centuries of history, Yazhou is a thriving, lovely place. With incomplete statistics indicating a total of 25.49 million visitors and CNY 27.102 billion in tourism related income over the past five years, the District is determined to continue promoting the tourism industry.



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