China is expecting a boom in winter-sport tourism as local authorities rush to tap opportunities presented by the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
According China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), China is aiming to encourage 300 million people in the country to participate in winter sports by the 2022 Winter Olympics.
China’s State Council released a five-year tourism plan (2016-2020) in January, listing winter-sport tourism as an important part of the country’s ambition to raise tourism revenues to 7 trillion yuan (about 1 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2020.
Since then, local authorities such as Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Heilongjiang and Jilin provinces have come up with detailed plans to explore related resources.
The economic benefits of winter tourism have already taken off. Winter-sport tourism has become a bright spot in Heilongjiang’s economy, which has been slowing due to sagging energy and heavy industries.
In Inner Mongolia, annual growth of winter tourism revenue has surpassed 30 percent, while in Jilin it accounted for one-third of the province’s tourism revenue.
“The scale of China’s ice-snow industry will exceed 1 trillion yuan, with related sports equipment revenue surpassing 35 billion yuan,” said CNTA head Li Jinzao.
China has vowed to develop tourism into a major driver for economic transformation and upgrading by 2020.