Winter Olympics craze drives surge in tourism
A sports craze is sweeping China and has triggered a whirl in the tourism sector.
There's been a surge in online searches for the two hotels where Asian Cup-winning Chinese women's football team stayed after they returned from India, online travel operator Tongcheng-Elong reported.
Searches for Qube Hotel Shanghai Sanjiagang, where the champions spent their first night on Monday, soared 227 percent compared with normal days. And there was a 313 percent surge in search for Yuyang Wharf Posthouse, a minsu (Chinese version of B&B) in Suzhou, neighboring Jiangsu Province, where the footballers are currently in quarantine.
At the same time, a sports tourism boom is in full swing across the country thanks to the ongoing Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
The training base used by Chinese winning skier Gu Ailing, the Xindu JF DrySki Four Season Resort in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, is also gaining popularity. Online searches on Tuesday increased by a factor of 15 compared with normal days, Tongcheng-Elong reported.
Gu claimed an historic gold medal in the Games' women's freeski big air event.
Bookings during this year's Spring Festival holiday for ice and snow attractions in China rose 68 percent from the same period last year, with ski resorts, skating rinks and ice and snow amusement parks drawing huge attention, the travel operator said.
"I am a close follower of Beijing Winter Olympics, and the curling events are the most fun for me," said Shanghai resident Chen Xi.
"I have never tried it, and am looking for a place to have a try," he said.
Shanghai Spring Tour said nearly 100 people from Shanghai headed for Changbai Mountain in Jilin Province, deemed as a heaven for ski lovers, on Monday, the first day when interprovincial group tours and airline+accommodation packages were reinstated after Shanghai's medium-risk status was cleared.
"We have noticed a wave of enthusiasm for ski and snow tourism recently," said Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Shanghai Spring Tour.
On February 24, about 400 people from Shanghai will participate in an ice and snow carnival at Changbai, the travel agency said.
Meanwhile, tours about flower appreciation are also gaining popularity.
Shanghai Botanical Garden and Chenshan Botanical Garden are popular spots to appreciate plum blossoms and wintersweet flowers.
Some people also have visited neighboring cities such as Suzhou, Wuxi and Nanjing in Jiangsu Province to appreciate plum blossoms, Shanghai Spring Tour said.
Early birds have reserved cherry blossom tours to Sanming in Fujian Province where the flowers are in full bloom.
Interest is also strong in a cruise liner to be launched by China Merchants Viking Cruises in Shanghai in April.
With two routes planned, departing from Shanghai and Shenzhen, it will take travelers to cities such as Xiamen, Wenzhou and Zhoushan and offer in-depth and diversified tour experiences.
The eight-day trip will include Gulangyu Islet and Qiaotou Island, and passengers will be introduced to the delights of Zen and tea culture. They will also talk with fishermen painters in Zhoushan to learn about local culture.
Strict COVID-19 prevention measures will be in place.
"A limit on the number of tourists is imposed for interprovincial tour groups," said Zhou.
"Indoor spaces are not included in touring visits, with outdoor activities the premier options," she added. Tourists will be required to keep masks on during tours.