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Winter tourism soars in NE China's Heilongjiang province

(People's Daily Online)    16:02, January 06, 2020

Harbin Ice and Snow World (Photo/Xinhua)

As China prepares to celebrate the Chinese New Year, its northernmost province Heilongjiang is seeing a boom in winter tourism.

The 36th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicked off in Harbin, Heilongjiang on Jan. 5, marking the start to over 100 ice and snow activities in the next three to four months. Winter tourism is turning snow into "gold" and making big fortunes for this traditional industrial base.

Harbin Ice and Snow World, a popular winter attraction in the city, received over 7,000 visitors on the same day when the 36th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival kicked off, the highest in the last decade, explained Liu Mingyu, president of the company that runs the theme park which covers a total area of 600,000 square meters with 220,000 cubic meters of snow and ice.

"The snow and ice festival has made Heilongjiang more popular," Liu said.

Temperatures in Huzhong district of Heilongjiang's Daxing'anling have dropped to as low as minus 40 degrees Celsius in recent days, and many visitors have already made plans to spend the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday there to experience this icy world.

Statistics released by the tourism department of Heilongjiang indicated that the province saw growth in both the number of incoming visitors and tourism revenue last winter, and tourists from other provinces, who accounted for 34 percent of the total, contributed over 60 percent to the revenue.

"Winter tourism has not only enriched the product line, but also integrated tourism resources that were scattered across the province," said Zhao Ruizheng, a researcher with the Heilongjiang Provincial Academy of Social Sciences.

The development of tourism is a partial result of enhanced infrastructure construction in the province. After one year of operation, the Harbin-Mudanjiang High-speed Railway has linked 11 tourist sites, and Heilongjiang has expanded its total length of express ways to 4,512 kilometers.

Harbin Taiping International Airport handled nearly 20.8 million passengers in 2019, ranking first among the four major airports in Northeast China for four consecutive years.

Booming winter tourism is also creating a large number of jobs. During the construction of the sites for the Harbin Ice and Snow World, ice garden parties and ice sculpture festivals, nearly 1,000 people were working at these sites each day.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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