[photopress:Harbin_ice_snow_festival.jpg,full,alignright]Winter, for many hotels, is a peak period. This is especially so in the northern provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
Heilongjiang was the first province in the country to see the potential of developing its resources as a major winter tourist attraction. Its winter lasts for about four months with heavy snowfalls throughout the period. It has more than 70 ski resorts and 150 ski slopes, accounting for more than 60 percent of China’s winter resort facilities.
Last spring festival Heilongjiang recieved some 3.2 million visitors so that tourism is one of the key drivers of the province’s economic growth.
Harbin, Heilongjiang’s capital, is famous for its annual ice and snow extravaganzas. According to the Heilongjiang Daily Harbin’s hotel occupancy rate during the period last year was more than 80%.
It does ice and snow sculptures in a big, big way. Two sculptures, ‘Crossing the Bering Strait’ and ‘Niagara Falls’ are reported to be 250 meters long and 28 meters high and involve more than 13,000 cubic meters of snow. Application has been made for them to be included as Guinness World Records.
Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, has introduced from Sweden an international ski competition Vasaloppet China. The event was held at the Jingyuetan Ski Resort.
Liaoning Province is promoting itself as the first stop in Northeast China for enthusiasts of ice and snow sports. The province spent millions of yuan in 2005 to build the Northeast Asia Ski Resort in the Shenyang National Forest Park.
Xinjiang recently held its Silk Road Ice and Snow Festival. Winter tourism earned Xinjiang RMB4.6 billion ($575 million) in 2005.
Source: China Daily