Tourism is an important industry in China and if you prefer colder weather, like me, the place to go for winter fun is Harbin.
CNN Travel reports, “China has invested heavily in bringing commercial and tourist traffic to more remote regions of the country. ……… The city of Harbin hosts the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, the biggest of its kind in the world. Every winter, visitors come from across China and the world to see the mammoth creations, which this year included a Buddha statue made from 4,500 square cubic meters of snow, and a 3-D light show reflected against the ice for dramatic effect.”
The festival originated in 1963. … In 2001, the Harbin Ice Festival was merged with Heilongjiang’s International Ski Festival and got a new formal name, the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.
Sneak Preview of Harbin Snow and Ice World 2020
“More than 100 activities and events will be held in Harbin … The activities and events fall into several categories, namely ice and snow tourism, ice and snow culture, ice and snow fashion culture, ice and snow trade, and ice & snow sports.” ꟷ Ice Festival Harbin.com
The Atlantic reports that more than a million tourists visit Harbin to see the massive ice and snow sculptures.
China Daily.com reports, “The festival officially starts in January 5th every year, but the locals begin to celebrate the festival in the third week of December of the previous year because most of the ice lanterns, ice and snow sculptures are completed by this time. Depending on the weather conditions and activities, the festival usually last until the end of February.”
As of 2015, China is the fourth most visited country in the world, after France, the United States, and Spain, with almost 57 million international tourists per year. In 2017, tourism resulted in revenue of about USD 1.35 trillion, 11.04% of the GDP, and contributed to direct and indirect employment for more than 28-million Chinese.
The Chinese also like to travel outside of China. According to The Telegraph, in 2018, almost 150 million Chinese visited other countries. But domestic tourism adds up to almost 5.5 billion trips annually.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine, Crazy is Normal, Running with the Enemy, and The Redemption of Don Juan Casanova.