Across China: Ice-and-snow economy heats up in northeast China's Jilin

Business 16

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CHANGCHUN, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Wang Hongxia is preparing meals for ski lovers from across the country at her homestay in Nangou Village, Beidahu Township, in northeast China's Jilin Province.

For Wang, the annual snowfall season was kind of a challenge until she found business opportunities in the wintry landscape.

Located at a latitude of 40 to 47 degrees north, Jilin is endowed with excellent natural conditions for developing the ice-and-snow industry.

"The festive atmosphere in northeast China is stronger than that in my hometown, and I can also enjoy travel and relax here during the holiday," said Yin Ying, a ski lover from the city of Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

This year is the second time that Yin has come to Beidahu Township for the week-long Spring Festival holiday, which ended on Jan. 27.

Thanks to the big influx of ski lovers, as well as her farming work, Wang now runs a homestay in Nangou, which is close to the Beidahu ski resort.

The annual snow cover of approximately 160 days contributes to the resort's reputation as a premier destination for winter sports enthusiasts.

Winter is generally the off-season for farming in northeast China, due to the region's frigid temperatures and severe weather. Local farmers remain idle through most of the winter.

However, inspired by business opportunities, many villagers have entered the thriving ice-and-snow business amid the rising popularity of winter sports.

Today, Nangou Village has more than 100 restaurants and hotels, helping more than 150 villagers increase their incomes. The village received over 20,000 tourists during this Spring Festival holiday, raking in nearly two million yuan (about 295,000 U.S. dollars) in tourism revenue.

The change in Nangou mirrors Jilin's efforts to vigorously promote the ice-and-snow industry in recent years. To date, the province has built 75 ski fields, 319 snow tracks and 94 ice-and-snow entertainment projects.

Driven by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, ice-and-snow tourism has gradually gained popularity among Chinese people, and northeast China is among the top destinations due to its cold winter.

During the Spring Festival holiday, Jilin handled about 11.55 million domestic tourist trips, up 23.61 percent year on year, and garnered domestic tourism revenue of some 11.2 billion yuan, an increase of 33.31 percent from last year.

In addition, official statistics show that the bookings of homestays around snow fields in Jilin during the holiday have increased by more than 16 times compared with 2019.

"It's easy to get around in Jilin, and the services and facilities are user-friendly. Some cable cars even have heated seats," said Wang Jiachao, a ski lover from Shanghai.

"The business boom during the Spring Festival is due to the vitality brought by the ice-and-snow activities, and the result of improved services," said Zhao Lanju, general manager of a lake resort in the city of Jilin. ■