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Updated: 2023-03-22

The city of Sanya, also called "Lucheng", was established with the approval of the State Council in May 1984. It is located on southern Hainan Island and borders Lingshui county in the east, Ledong county in the west, Baoting county in the north, and the South China Sea in the south.

The city has jurisdiction over four administrative districts, namely Haitang, Jiyang, Tianya, and Yazhou, with a total land area of 1,921 square kilometers and a sea area of 3,500 square kilometers. 

According to the seventh national population census held by the State Council Information Office on May 11, 2021, the city of Sanya was home to a population of 1,031,396, up by 50.48 percent compared to its previous census.

With its unique geographical environment, Sanya is the only city in China that can enjoy a tropical rainforest and ocean scenery at the same time. The city is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and the three beautiful landscapes of mountains, the sea, and rivers merge naturally. Many of its hilltops also provide places overlooking the sea, river bay, and urban landscape. The natural scenery and excellent ecological environment make Sanya a paradise for daily living, travel, and vacations.

With a rich and long history, the city of Sanya also boasts rich intangible cultural heritages, with two local art forms, dachaiwu (chopping wood dance) of the Li ethnic group and Yacheng Folk Songs, selected as a National Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006, as well as seven cultural items listed on the provincial intangible cultural heritage list.

Meanwhile, Sanya is one of the few places in China where the Li ethnic group have settled. Over the past thousand years, this ethnic group created architecture, music and dancing, garments and brocades. The facial tattoos of the Li people have been highly praised as a "living fossil of body art". The Miao and Hui people are other ethnic groups living in Sanya, and their distinctive cultures and customs attract many visitors annually.

The city has won the titles of "National Ecological Demonstration Zone", "National Garden City", "National Health City", and "China Habitat Environment Award".

In 2020, the city of Sanya opened its tourism industry wide to the outside world, actively promoting its visa-free policy for 59 countries.

According to statistics from Sanya Phoenix International Airport, the airport hosted 116,000 flights, transported 16.6 million passengers, and handled 212,000 metric tons of cargo and mail in 2021. The airport achieved an annual passenger throughput exceeding 10 million passengers by July 5, 2021, which exceeds the 10 million passenger mark 87 days earlier than 2020, and Sanya's passenger throughput has exceeded 10 million for 11 consecutive years.

The city's GDP reached 84.71 billion yuan ($12.3 billion) in 2022, a year-on-year decrease of 4.5 percent. The added value of the primary, secondary and tertiary industries was 11.03 billion yuan, 11.48 billion yuan, and 62.2 billion yuan respectively.

In 2022, Sanya's investment in fixed-assets decreased by 19.7 percent. Its total retail sales of consumer goods decreased by 20.7 percent. Its revenue in local governments' general public budgets was 9.8 billion yuan, down 14.1 percent. The number of its overnight tourists reached 13.15 million and the total tourism revenue generated was 43.47 billion yuan.


Sanya Phoenix Island. [Photo/IC]