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Sloping off for winter

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-12 11:01

The Barkol Lake at the backdrop of the snow-capped Tianshan Mountains in Xinjiang. [Photo by XU LIN/CHINA DAILY]

More Chinese are warming up to the idea of chilling out in the snow as market for on-piste action and apres-ski entertainment booms.

Destinations covered in ice and snow no longer get a chilly reception from Chinese travelers as demand for winter tourism continues to grow.

Since Beijing won its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015, the Beijing-based China Tourism Academy reports that the country's winter tourism business has taken off.

Chinese travelers made approximately 197 million visits to venues and locations offering cold weather activities during the winter of 2017-18, a year-on-year increase of 16 percent, the Academy's report shows.

During that same period, winter tourism generated revenues of about 330 billion yuan ($47.9 billion), up 22 percent year-on-year.

Travelers are also increasingly spending more time at their winter destinations, with trips lasting, on average, about three days during the 2017-18 winter period.

Skiing is the most popular activity, with ski resorts accounting for 60 percent of the market nationwide.

The academy forecasts that the number of tourists will reach 340 million in the 2021-22 winter tourism season, with revenue from the sector reaching 680 billion yuan.

"Winter tourism products are increasingly diverse now, and the search for ski, sleigh, ice sculpture and aurora is growing," Alibaba's travel arm, Fliggy, notes.

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