Zhuhai’s tourism future comes into focus

Economic data from the first three quarters of the year shows Zhuhai’s tourism industry continuing to grow strongly, while the construction industry is taking off – also an indicator of the city’s potential in tourism as major projects are being built.

GDP of RMB 228 billion for the first three quarters was up 6.4% YoY, in line with the provincial average. The construction industry, which saw output soar 30% to RMB62 billion, accounted for 5.5% of the entire province’s total. For a city of under 3 million people, that is remarkable. Its value-added contribution to the city’s overall GDP was 8.5%.

It is not surprising, however, as Zhuhai’s construction industry is focused on major projects designed not so much for local needs as for bringing in significantly larger headcounts of tourists. This is especially in the special economic zone of Hengqin, facing Macau’s Cotai Strip, where the country’s second-biggest train station is being built. When it opens on December 20, the Hengqin Railway Station will have a throughput capacity of 80 million passengers annually. It will be second only to Shenzhen’s Futian Station.

Even before the station is open, the city’s tourism market is booming. Total visitation in the first three quarters was up 11.3% YoY, to more than 3.7 million. They spent RMB 36.845 billion, up 17.3%, of which foreign exchange income was US$1.018 billion, a rise of 19.7%.

It’s not only the train station that is driving expectations of future growth. Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is opening its second phase in December, a RMB 2 billion expansion project that will add more rooms and leisure facilities. Novotown, a project owned by Hong Kong-listed Lai Sun Group, opens its first phase, worth HK$5 billion with 500 hotel rooms, in December as well. And there are at least 10 other major projects under way across the city.

Zhuhai’s other industries are holding up well, too, although foreign trade continues to struggle. High-tech industries grew 7.1%, while the twin pillars of home appliances (+15.4%) and bio-pharmaceuticals (+22.1%) stayed strong, too.

The financial services industry maintained its momentum as well, rising 11.9% YoY. Insurance policy sales were particularly strong, up 15.6% YoY.

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