Bookings for skiing activities and holiday have increased by more than 350% since November 2020 on China’s largest travel platform Ctrip. Competitor, travel agency Fliggy, has also recorded similar trends. During Singles’ Day festival, the popularity of destinations in Northeast China rose by 300% year-on-year, and bookings for skiing and other ice/snow tours increased by 110%.
Winter sports have received considerable support from regional and national governments following the announcement that the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held in Beijing. The “Ice and Snow Sports Development Plan (2016-2025)” aims to expand the size of China’s ice and snow industry to 100 billion RMB by 2025. By then, the number of people directly participating in winter sports is expected to exceed 50 million.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicts that the expansion of China’s ice and snow tourism and the development of towns and resorts tailored to winter sports enthusiasts will generate 2.92 trillion RMB in the 2021-2022 season. As well as government support, China’s skiing industry has boomed due to COVID-19 travel restrictions which have forced ski fans to look towards domestic resorts rather than Europe, the US or other parts of Asia.
Ctrip and the General Administration of Sports of China jointly released a “China Ice and Snow Map” on December 23. The map, available on the Ctrip app, shows the over 1000 snow and ice destinations across the country and allows users to book hotels and tickets for skiing and other activities.
Apart from Beijing and Tianjin residents, the top ten skiing lovers are all from southern cities, including Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. During the New Year’s holiday from January 1 to 3, Harbin was the most searched skiing destination. Hebei’s Zhangjiakou has been catching up quickly with searches growing by 525%.
However, the popularity of southern resorts is also soaring in popularity: skiing resorts near to Chengdu and Guangzhou have seen a growth in searches by 540% and 298% respectively. Chengdu is the third most popular skiing destination in China.
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