China’s winter tourism embraces rapid development

People ski on a piste at Silkroad Resort, Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Dec. 6, 2020. (Photo by Zhang Xiuke/People's Daily Online)

China’s winter tourism, or “white economy,” achieved rapid recovery in the second half of 2020 despite the impacts from COVID-19. The revenue of the sector climbed 13.61 percent and order volume 23.46 percent from a year ago.

According to a report by Meituan Research Institute under Chinese food delivery giant Meituan Dianping, China’s expanding winter tourism is rapidly integrating with cultural and sport tourism, and ice-themed amusement parks are becoming increasingly attractive to young consumers. Besides, online reviews are an important factor for consumers when they choose destinations.

“Winter sports and winter tourism still see huge potentials, and to improve experiences is vital for releasing the potentials,” said Wu Ruoshan, research fellow with the Tourism Research Center under Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He believes the sector shall enhance its service quality and product variety and improve cultural connotation, so as to better meet the demands of consumers.

Winter fishing on Chagan Lake, northeast China’s Jilin province, a national intangible cultural heritage item, is attracting huge numbers of visitors every December. Manifesting the diligence and wisdom of the fishers, it has formed rich connotation through innovation and inheritance.

Besides, a series of ice-themed characteristic villages are also presenting forest culture, folk culture and food culture of the ice world by restoring the traditional ways of life and production in northeast China’s forest areas.

To further promote winter tourism, the local tourism authority of Tahe county, Daxing’anling prefecture, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province built an online publicity department which presents local sceneries and folk culture on short video platforms including Douyin. It has earned over 660,000 followers and 600 million views. Multiple clips it uploaded were played by more than 50 million times each.

Winter tourism also made snow and ice equipments popular. A wide range of innovative and novel equipment were recently exhibited at the 2021 Harbin Snow and Ice Expo.

“We thought the exhibitors might not be passionate enough about the event as it was moved online, but we unexpectedly received 93.13 million views on the first day it opened,” said Liu Lele, an organizer of the expo. The expo was joined by over 4,380 enterprises from home and abroad, making deals that worth 58.13 million yuan ($89.99 million).