Ice-snow consumption booms in China's warm south
Thanks to the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, consumption related to the ice-snow industry has gained steam across China. The revenue of ice and snow tourism in the country is expected to exceed 320 billion yuan (about 50 billion U.S. dollars) from 2021 to 2022, according to the China Tourism Academy.
SHANGHAI, Feb. 12 -- Shen Ying, a Shanghai native, developed a fascination for skiing seven years ago when she tried the sport for the first time in northeast China's Changbai Mountain.
Since then her family would visit North China every winter to enjoy ice-snow sports, where she could hire professional instructors and train using advanced equipment.
"Skiing is addictive! We look for chances to go skiing when on business trips to the north," said the 36-year-old bank clerk. Her son, who is only two years old, has already savored sporting activities in an ice rink in Shanghai.
While residents of northern provinces remain the main consumers of winter sports due to relatively favorable snow conditions and temperatures, data shows that such recreational activities are also increasingly sought after in southern Chinese cities.
Bookings for ice-snow tourism soared over 30 percent year on year in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality during the seven-day Spring Festival holiday from Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, said the city's administration of culture and tourism.
Ice and snow scenic spots in the cities of Xianning and Yichang, in central China's Hubei Province, both received over 30,000 tourists during the holiday, up approximately 60 percent year on year respectively.
Shanghai and Guangzhou, boasting professional facilities and venues, have been listed among popular destinations for consumption involving the ice and snow industry, according to Mafengwo, a travel service, and social networking platform.
Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, consumers in southern China no longer go on inter-provincial ice and snow tours as before, and their repurchase rate of ice and snow sport activities in places nearby is higher, with more focus on the professionality of the equipment and venues, according to online platforms such as Trip.com Group and Meituan.
Though cities and provinces in southern China such as Shanghai, Chongqing, Sichuan, and Guizhou have a temperate climate, their pursuits in the development of snow and ice sports remain unaffected.
The ice-snow industry has been all the rage in both northern and southern parts of China, said Dai Bin, president of the China Tourism Academy. "The country's investment in this field has shifted from scale expansion to high-quality development, and new forms of ice and snow products can be seen in every province."