Beijing Winter Olympics: snow tourism boom in China

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Every winter in northeast China, the coldest places are often the hottest tourist spots. This is especially true right now, with the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics fast approaching (February 4-20) and the Chinese people’s passion for cold greater than ever.

Ice and Snow World, a famous seasonal attraction in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, was bustling with tourists during the three-day New Year holiday.

Covering an area of ​​820,000m², the park used some 230,000m3 of ice and snow to create 65 different landscapes this time around, with the popular “super ice slide” attraction extended to 423m.

Comprehensive Covid-19 prevention measures are in place. Visitors can be seen lining up in an orderly fashion at the gate, scanning their health codes and having their temperature taken before entering the park.

The park’s tour guide, Liu Lu, spends about six hours a day in freezing weather, showing visitors the sights and explaining how the ice was collected and how the park was built.

“When I see tourists enjoying the park, I see the value of my work and I don’t feel cold at all,” Liu said.

Employees working on a snow sculpture at Ice and Snow World in Harbin. —AFP

From the forest to the snow village

Located in the Changbai Mountains, Hailin City Snow Village in Heilongjiang kicked off its annual tourist season on December 29, when local temperatures dropped to around -20°C, turning the village into a snowy wonders. the village. A few days before it opened, it stocked up a lot of food and had some maintenance done in anticipation of the rush of tourists.

Fan said the attraction has become increasingly popular with visitors from southern China, where impressive snowscapes are hard to come by. In the northern village, snowy weather can last seven months a year.

The village held emergency drills for all staff and provided training on infectious disease prevention and emergency response. It is also equipped with a mobile nucleic acid testing laboratory with a daily testing capacity of 10,000 samples.

The Snow Village was once a tree farm, and Fan once worked there as a lumberjack. The development of ice and snow tourism has benefited both local economic modernization and environmental protection efforts.

In recent years, Chinese enthusiasm for winter sports has also increased, with night skiing in the spotlight. Experts noted that night ski tourism has become a new economic engine in northern China.

The sculptures in the park have been carefully arranged to represent the five Olympic rings.  — XinhuaThe sculptures in the park have been carefully arranged to represent the five Olympic rings. — Xinhua

Night activities

Songhuahu Ski Area, a well-known urban ski resort in Jilin City, Jilin Province, introduced night skiing sessions in 2016, and the number of participants increased from 30,000 to around 100,000 in 2021 , according to Wang Jiayu, responsible for the appeal.

“Night skiing is a perfect way for me to deal with stress,” said Zhang Tian, ​​a frequent visitor. “It has become an integral part of my winter entertainment.”

Business-savvy people are now catching up with the latest trend, building catering and hospitality services as well as hot springs around ski resorts. Zhao Chunjie, a 10-year-old ski enthusiast, recently opened a homestay near Songhuahu resort.

“My homestay can accommodate more than 100 people, and tourists from southern China account for 70 to 80 percent of the total,” he said, noting that the homestay is already fully booked for the holiday. Chinese New Year in February.

Zhao is quite confident in his business. “I believe more people will engage in ice and snow sports after the 2022 Winter Olympics are over,” he said. – Xinhua

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