Tuesday, 25 December 2018

CHINA: Ice And Snow World Jn Harbin, Heilongjiang Province Reopens

The Ice and Snow World in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, reopened for trial operation on Sunday.

Covering 600,000 square meters, the winter wonderland has more than 30 interactive entertainment areas and hundreds of events to welcome tourists.

Staff at the theme park said the warm climate in winter had posed challenges in building the park.

It took 15 days to build the ice and snow theme park with 110,000 cubic meters of ice and 120,000 cubic meters of snow.

To celebrate the anniversary, it will present former ice and snow landscapes from the past 20 years.

The number of popular 320-meter-long ice slides will increase from three to six this year. A queuing system app will be available for tourists to efficiently arrange queuing times.

In addition, Harbin has seen a record number of air passengers this year, according to the Taiping International Airport. The annual passenger throughput of the airport in the provincial capital of Heilongjiang in 2018 crossed the threshold of 20 million on Monday, a new historical high and nearly double the figure from five years ago.

Known as an "ice city", Harbin has gained international attention for its increasingly popular winter extravaganza, which features massive, elaborate ice sculptures, competitions and winter sports.

Destinations featuring snow scenery and winter sports, such as skiing, have seen a boom in tourism over the past month, according to a report by Tuniu.com, an online travel agency, on Wednesday.

The company headquartered in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, said search with keywords "snow," "skiing" and "snow view" increased by 200 percent in past half month compared with the same period of last year.

Visits booked on its platform to attractions highlighting snow scenery are expected to rise by 30 percent during the 2018 winter season and 2019 spring than that of last year, according to the report.

The report said destinations in northeast provinces remain most attractive, with Harbin in Heilongjiang Province, Jilin City in Jilin Province and Shenyang in Liaoning Province topping the list.

Lvmama.com, another online agency headquartered in Shanghai, said that reservation of snow-themed packages on its platform have risen by over 50 percent so far from early November.

Li Qiuyan, general manager with the agency's public relations department, said that destinations in Northeast China's provinces such as Liaoning and Heilongjiang attract the most travelers for their spectacular snow-covered landscape and distinctive customs.

Viewing snowy scenery and ice sculpture and experiencing winter sports like skiing are popular choices among domestic travelers, she said.

Outbound destinations famous for snow-related events including Japan, Russia, Finland and Sweden have been embraced by Chinese travelers during the winter, according to the report by Tuniu.com.

The agency said a tour package on snow-themed destinations is much more expensive. Packages to domestic attractions usually cost at least 3,000 yuan (440 U.S. dollars) while to foreign destinations they range from 6,500 to 15,000 yuan RMB.

The Ice and Snow Festival in Harbin, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has already begun with dazzling displays to see and an array of activities to experience.

The annual event has been running for 33 years in Harbin and has become one of the world’s most attractive winter tourist destinations.

Thanks to the extremely low temperatures which produce ice and snow for these attractions, the city is able to turn what used to be an energy and manufacturing economy to a money-spinning tourist economy.

The Heilongjiang Provincial Tourism Development Committee revealed that, in the first three quarters of 2017, they had received nearly 145.5 billion yuan from domestic tourist revenue. This is a significant financial increase, up around 23 percent from the previous year.

And in the third quarter of 2017, the domestic tourist revenue was approximately 62.5 billion yuan, up by even more, with a 38.46 percent increase year-on-year.

This significant increase of visitors at the festival is not only beneficial for the city’s tourism sector, but also profits other industries such as transportation, hospitality and retail.

The Ice and Snow Festival is very good for our restaurant business, which is the best during the period from mid-December to the end of February when the event is on.

Then business declines over the summer, as we get half of the number of customers compared to the winter. It’s then that we use some promotions like group buying activities to pull customers in, Liu said.

What's more is that China's most northeastern province received almost 115 million domestic tourists in the first three quarters of 2017, up by nearly 13 percent year-on-year. It’s these kinds of figures that have made the local government focus on this growing sector.

The Director of the Heilongjiang Provincial Tourism Development Committee, Xi Dongguang said: Snow and ice tourism has become an important engine of economic restructuring and upgrading and structural adjustment, and has also increased the income of some people.

In the past, Heilongjiang was dominated by an energy economy and industry, and now the tertiary industry has increased 50 percent. It has become a crucial industry leading the economic development. Tourism is the leader of the tertiary industry.

At present, snow in Heilongjiang province has turned into platinum and cold resources into hot economy.

Xi Dongguang stressed that the goal is for Heilongjiang to become the first choice destination for China's snow and ice tourism in the future, and then develop to be the landmark venue for international snow and ice tourism in the world.

Tourism Observer

No comments: