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Fledgling industry developing at fast pace

By Su Zihan in Hong Kong | HK EDITION | Updated:2021-09-18


Chen Baiyu, president of Guangzhou Lingnan Group Holdings, says the ice and snow tourism industry is growing at a fast pace. [Photo by PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY]

Ice and snow tourism is seeing a rapid growth in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area - a good omen for Guangzhou Lingnan Group Holdings, which will continue to focus its business on the area, said company president Chen Baiyu.

"The Greater Bay Area is a very important market in our company's strategy. It's also a core area where our advantages lie," she said.

The company's business in the Greater Bay Area, which covers nine cities in Guangdong province and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, had seen double-digit growth annually from 2017 to 2019.

Before 2018, about 95 percent of Guangzhou Lingnan's business came from the Greater Bay Area, she said. But the percentage has dropped to around 80 percent since 2019 as the company expanded to other parts of the country.

"The Greater Bay Area will remain the main battleground for our company and I believe that, with the region's dynamic development, our business will grow further," Chen said.

She said China's ice and snow tourism industry is still in its infancy, pointing to a mismatch between supply and demand in its industrial chain. But the industry is developing at a fast pace and there's strong demand for such tourism in the region.


Skiers practice at Sunac Snow Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. [Photo provided to CHINA DAILY]

"According to a survey released by the China Tourism Academy, the number of visits made for ice and snow leisure in the country is estimated at reach 230 million during the 2020-21 winter season, with tourism revenue projected to exceed 390 billion yuan ($60 billion)," Chen said.

The number of quality ice and snow resorts in the Greater Bay Area is also growing, with Guangdong having 20 indoor ice rinks by the end of last year, with a total area of more than 20,000 square meters. The largest indoor skiing resort in South China, with a total floor area of 7.5 hectares, is run by Guangzhou Sunac Snow Park. New indoor skiing venues are also due to open in other cities in the region, including Zhaoqing and Shenzhen.

"We're also seeing a new trend for large shopping malls to be equipped with indoor skating rinks," Chen said.

According to media reports, the city of Guangzhou ranks second in the ranking of the country's 20 largest sources of ice and snow tourists. Meanwhile, Guangdong province ranks third nationally in the average amount that tourists spend on ice and snow activities, over 4,600 yuan per person.

"Ice and snow tourism is particularly attractive to tourists from the Greater Bay Area. Perhaps, the lack of ice and snow there sparks a bigger desire among residents for related recreational activities," Chen said.

"There's plenty of room to explore in building up the ice and snow industry in the Greater Bay Area."

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