Chinese Xinjiang is riding the wave of winter sports fever triggered by the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, attracting more visitors to enjoy its breathtaking winter scenery and top ski resorts.
Blessed with mountainous landscapes and long winter seasons, the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in the far west of China is turning into a winter sports paradise.
Previous ski trips to the region’s Altay city by Olympic stars Su Yiming and Gu Ailing have drawn public attention to its hot air balloon winter sports industry.
Since a cave painting of people hunting on skis with sticks, a work thought to be over 12,000 years old, was discovered in the area, the city of Altay in northern Xinjiang has been considered by many to be one of the cradles of skiing.
Local ranchers still maintain the traditional way of traveling with pine and horsehair skis.
Altay Prefecture, which administers the city, is known for its long winter season which can last up to eight months a year. Today, it attracts skiers from all over the world with its vast area of natural powder.
Since March, the number of tourists traveling on charter flights to ski in Altai has increased significantly, said Wang Xinhui, deputy director of the culture, sports, radio, television and tourism bureau of the city. prefecture.
Many tourists from hot provinces in southern China come to Altay especially to experience the charm of ice and snow, according to Wang.
“Altay’s rich ice and snow resources attract ski enthusiasts,” said Chen Jian’an, who runs a company offering ski lessons in southern China’s Guangdong Province.
The booming ice and snow tourism in Altay also offers a glimpse of the vigorous development of the winter sports industry in Xinjiang.
Thanks to the Beijing Winter Olympics, Xinjiang’s winter sports economy has grown, with skating rinks, ski resorts, and ice and snow theme parks built one after another. others.
During the week-long Spring Festival holiday in February this year, Xinjiang received about 3.6 million tourists, with tourism revenue reaching some 2.6 billion yuan (about $400 million).
“Currently, Xinjiang is striving to build a world-class ice and snow industry and roll out winter tourism activities such as winter fishing, hot springs and snow jumping,” Hou Hanmin said. , deputy director of the regional department of culture and tourism. “More fun for tourists, more money for local tour operators.”