Snow sports heats up tourism in Changbai Mountain

CHANGCHUN, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Business remains brisk these days at Meng Xianfang's restaurant in the Changbai Mountain area in northeast China's Jilin Province, running Meng off her feet all day long.

File photo: CFP

"It's already springtime. I didn't expect to still see these many tourists. This year, Changbai Mountain has had an exceptionally busy snow season," said Meng, who hails from Guosong village in Fusong County of Baishan City.

Song Wei, a ski enthusiast from Shanghai, has been practicing skiing since January at Changbai Mountain Wanda International Resort in Fusong. "With the onset of spring, the sunshine feels warmer and skiing becomes merrier," Song said.

"I used to take ski vacations in Japan and Europe. Now Changbai Mountain has become my top vacation spot," she added.

To ensure skiers have a pleasant stay, the Wanda resort has lately opened a number of tracks for off-piste skiing. It is also planning fun skiing activities and games.

"My friends and I chose to ski here in February. We've managed to snag coupons issued by Jilin Province to boost consumption, which is really getting a good value for money," said Wang Yueqi, a tourist from another part of Jilin.

Wang has vacationed in Changbai Mountain for 11 consecutive years. "I have witnessed the development here. Tour packages available today are quite inclusive, saving tourists a lot of trouble, and the facilities have also improved," she said.

Located approximately 20 km away, the Changbai Mountain Luneng ski resort has also seen its tourist arrivals climbing since the Spring Festival, which fell on Jan. 22.

For the current snow season, the resort has prepared the most popular ski and related safety gear while constantly improving its capacity to accommodate and serve tourists.

During this year's Spring Festival holiday, which ran from Jan. 21 to 27, Changbai Mountain made it to the top of a niche destination list, showed a report compiled by Chinese travel service and social networking platform Mafengwo.

During the week-long holiday, the city of Baishan recorded some 528,800 domestic tourist visits, up 168.3 percent year on year, according to official estimates.

The revenue generated by domestic visits reached 512 million yuan (about 74.68 million U.S. dollars), an increase of 38.4 percent year on year.

The Jilin provincial Olympic ice and snow sports center, a major ice and snow project in Baishan, is currently under construction.

With 114 planned pistes and a designed capacity to handle 3 million visits annually, the sports center, once operational, is expected to draw significantly more domestic and overseas tourists to Changbai Mountain.

Meng Xianfang is considering expanding her restaurant this year, as she has already seen a large number of repeat customers over the past few months.

"I've grown increasingly confident that as we pool our efforts, tourism in Changbai Mountain will definitely see strong growth," Meng said.