Sanya City in China’s tropical island of Hainan is intending to start working together with various cities in Africa in a move that will also play a role in opening up opportunities for both parties and bring shared interest.

The initiative will be part of taking further implementation of the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) whose agreements have so far been signed by 123 countries, including more than 24 African countries and 29 international organisations.

The plan was declared on Monday by the General Economist of Sanya’s Development and Reform Commission, Mr Zhao Yiwen, who said that among other things, the cooperation will provide an opportunity for knowledge transfer among participants.

“There are a number of projects that have been invested and will continue to be constructed here, the aim is to maintain the city’s status of being among the worlds’ international tourist destination given the nature of activities taking place here,” he said.

According to him, various efforts have been taken to improve investment environment within the province and that the island is striving to create a pattern of complete openness with creative efforts.

Recently, the city had introduced a visa free policy for tourists from 59 BRI countries that will stay in the island for up to 30 days. “A visa free initiative enabled Sanya to receive 801,000 inbound tourists from the beneficiary countries, out of a total of 22.2 million tourists who visited the island from various parts of the world,” said Mr Tang Sixian, a researcher from Tourism, Culture, Radio, Television and Sports Bureau.

According to him, they are expecting the number of tourists to increase by more than 10 per cent this year.

From the cooperation between African cities and Sanya, it is expected that the former will learn what the latter is doing to maintain and strengthen its status for present and future benefits.

Specifically, Tanzania and Africa in general can learn how best they can utilise the available natural and artificial tourism destinations to generate more income and bring development to its people.

Currently, the government of Tanzania through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism is working hard to improve the tourism sector by promoting beach tourism and attractive destinations situated in the southern circuit.

African countries that have shown interest in BRI are Tanzania, Egypt, Kenya, Burundi, Somalia, Mozambique, Mauritania, Madagascar, Mauritius, South Africa and Morocco.

Others are Guinea, Ethiopia, Comoros, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Seychelles, Tunisia, Djibouti and Algeria.