Sunday 25th September – A Gala dinner was held at the Wanda Reign hotel courtesy of the Hainan Tourism Development Commission, to celebrate Hainan’s rich ecological, historical and culinary heritage, whilst showcasing Hainan’s beautiful white beaches, tropical forests, and wonderful scenic spots, which makes Hainan the perfect getaway from bustling Chengdu.

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The evening started by inviting guests from Chengdu’s international expatriate community to sign their names on a scroll to commemorate the event; notable guests included Consulate staffs, Chamber heads, General Managers from various companies and respected business founders – Sally Huang, the head of the European Chamber of Commerce, Eli Sweet, founder of Sinostage and vice Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce, and Kurt Marcher-Yeo, GM of Temple House to name a few were on the top table with esteemed members of Hainan’s tourism bureau.

After guests were seated in Wanda Reign’s Grand ballroom, which had been decorated with fresh produce from the island, the opening ceremony began; men and women wearing traditional clothing from Hainan’s indigenous Li ethnic group – demonstrated a beautiful dance, with floral garlands and wooden shoes, completely captivating the audience.
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After the dance, the guests were welcomed by Ms. Sun Ying – Director of the Hainan Tourism Development Commission, who encouraged the audience to visit Hainan, talking of the blue skies and white sand beaches, followed by an address by Dieter Vanonckelen, founder of The Beer Nest and local community leader, where he told of his trip to Hainan last year. Then, the audience got to appreciate first-hand the beauty of the island in a series of videos featuring members of Hainan’s international community about water sports, scenic spots and local ethnic minority cultural practises available for tourists to discover on the island.

Aside from all the wonderful things to do on the island, no introduction to a place would be complete without an insight to Hainan’s culinary heritage – but luckily Nicki Johnson, an American that has lived there for several years talked through her favourite island eats – from the wide range of fresh fruit and seafood, to all of the noodle varieties (enough to eat a new one, every day for a year). The audience then got a chance to witness a sand painting artist first-hand, illustrating the history of the Li people on the island on real sand flown in from Hainan

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Lastly, the dancers returned to show the lucky guests the famed Hainan bamboo dance: bamboo poles are laid on the floor and pairs dance in unison, jumping and criss-crossing between the poles. Some of the lucky guests got more than just a great performance as they were invited up on stage to try their luck at the bamboo dance – the best dancers (judged by the professionals) were awarded some great prizes; nights in some of Hainan’s most prestigious hotels and flights to both Sanya and Haikou. Those that didn’t win anything didn’t leave empty handed – everyone was given a gift bag with produce from Hainan to take home. A great night had by all!

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International Tourism Website: www.visithainan.gov.cn

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CDIS China Chengdu