China's island province of Hainan announced a 9% GDP growth target for this year. The tourist-heavy island's economy underperformed the national growth level in the first half of the year. This month, a surge in Covid infections this month forced tens of thousands of tourists to stay put at their hotels.

Covid infections forced tens of thousands of tourists to stay put in Sanya. Haikou, the province's capital, also issued stay-home orders. Airlines cancelled flights, leaving tourists stranded on Hainan island since Saturday. China's economy overall is running far below initial targets.

Some people have been able to return to the mainland on government-organized charter flights. Questions remain about uniform implementation of hotel stay subsidies, the cost of food and how soon most tourists can return to their homes. "The public image and reputation of Hainan is damaged for the short term," said Jacques Penhirin.

In July, China's top leaders indicated the country might miss the GDP target of around 5.5%. Beijing did not signal any large-scale stimulus, or any change to its "dynamic zero-Covid" policy. The national economy grew by just 2.5% in the first half of the year.

Hainan's economy only grew by 1.6% in the first half of 2022. That's a sharp slowdown from the island's 11.2% GDP growth for all of 2021. Hainan has benefited from the international travel restriction, up by nearly 60% last year.
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