When people are trawling websites and flicking through their brochures to find an ideal tropical island to spend two weeks of rest and relaxation on, they may not immediately think of China as the country for them.
The nation is perhaps more associated with its stunning cultural attractions, rich heritage and, latterly, its bustling and thriving cities.
But those on a holiday to China can enjoy exactly the same kind of tropical island fun normally seen in commercial retreats such as the Maldives or the Caribbean.
According to Xinhuanet, the island of Hainan is experiencing a large surge in popularity as China becomes more accommodating to tourists.
The news agency reported that visitor numbers in the tropical paradise have increased by 21 per cent over the course of the past 12 months, with 800,000 overseas tourists visiting the area.
Currently, Russian tourists are most aware of the secret of Hainan.
One such visitor called Natascha told Xinhuanet that she had fallen in love with the island since she was brought there by her parents as a youngster.
“I can still remember the warm feeling experienced here that I never enjoyed before. Hainan is such a memorable place,” she added.
The island is particularly popular with older, more affluent tourists who find it one of the easiest places to go in China due to its visa-free entry policy, which means travellers can register just one day before they want to travel.
An elderly Japanese tourist said that the winter sun made it the perfect location to escape the colder temperatures back home and he and his wife often stayed on the island for two to three weeks at a time.
According to China Daily, the beaches of Hainan also offer the perfect place to enjoy a spot of volleyball.
World number three pairing Xue Chen and Zhang Xi are honing their skills on the island in preparation for this year’s Olympic Games.