- Posted by Newsdesk
- On 11th January 2017
- Canada, olympics, ski, skiing, winter, winter olympics
Sports tourism has been the fastest growing segment in China’s economy, with China entering ‘the era of mass tourism,’ according to Zhang Xilong, vice-director of China National Tourism Administration’s planning and financial department. Despite criticism over the Chinese winning the bid in 2015 to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, the Chinese government have pushed for greater participation in winter sports across China, and it has had knock on effects for Europe and North America.
Whilst winter resorts in European countries such as Switzerland and Slovenia have been adapting to meet the needs of increasing numbers of Chinese tourists, Canada has gone one step further. The introduction of nonstop flights from Beijing to Calgary has made the Canadian Rockies more accessible to those Chinese looking for an alternative to purpose built, fake-snow supplied ski runs near smog-filled cities in China. Resorts in Alberta have been working hard to entice Chinese skiers from the affluent 20-45 age group, experienced and inexperienced alike. January saw a Chinese website launched marketing Lake Louise as a winter destination, whilst Snowshoe Tours at Lake Louise in Canada have introduced new Snowshoeing and Interpretive Guide program’s which are overseen by a Mandarin speaker. Similarly, Mt. Norquay has 2 Chinese speaking instructors. Further, ski instructor exchange programs have been established between Marmot’s Snow School in Canada and Yabuli Ski Resort in China.
The preparations for an influx of Chinese tourists are likely warranted, given China’s new push for engagement in winter sports. With all eyes on China in the run up to the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, it is in China’s interest to advance winter sports engagement both at home and abroad. Eyebrows were raised when Beijing was chosen over Almaty, Kazakhstan, as host for the games, given Almaty has snowy winters and the money from local oil revenues to fund preparations. In contrast, Beijing will have to supply fake snow, with two of the venues already chosen, Zhangjiakou (217 km from Beijing), and Yanqing (89 km away), both receiving less than 25 cm of snow per year.
Despite criticisms, China is determined to put itself on the map when it comes to winter sports, funneling efforts into encouraging Chinese youth to take up skiing, skating and hockey. Perhaps partly in a show of solidarity, China is sending 119 student skiers and skaters to the 28th Winter University Games in Almaty, which begin on January 29th. The Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC) has said that the 119 athletes have been chosen from 17 universities in 7 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. With Chinese authorities expecting winter sports to be worth 1 trillion yuan by 2025, and an up-and-coming generation of experienced Chinese winter sports fans, Canada and Europe might expect the number of Chinese tourists to their resorts to rise in the coming years.
COTRI China Outbound Tourism Research Institute provides expert insights into the worldwide developments of China’s outbound tourism market. As Chinese outbound tourists are travelling to a large range of destinations, our publications cover a number of regions, providing detailed insights and analysing visitor behaviour.
With COTRI’s insights you can forge a successful business strategy built upon in-depth market expertise, comprehensive qualitative analysis and future projections. The Autumn 2016 Edition of the COTRI Market report features in-depth exploration of the developing trends in the field, supported by a wealth of qualitative and quantitative statistical research.