Harbin, China, March 11, 2021 (Antara/Xinhua-AsiaNet) - On a bitterly cold morning, the screams and cheers from the tourists broke the peace of the forest sea and snow plain of Yabuli Ski Resort,located in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province. Skiing enthusiasts were experiencing the speed and excitement brought by this unique winter sports.
"Amazing! It is a really an impressive skiing experience!" Sun Bin, a tourist from Guangzhou, was so excited that he couldn't wait to slide down the mountain.
Known as either the "Oriental Moscow" or "Oriental Paris", Harbin won fame in late 1800s and early 1900s after construction of the Chinese Eastern Railway financed by then Russian Empire. Apart from its unique combination of oriental and European architectural styles, the city is also known for its ice and snow festivals in winter.
In 1963, Harbin held its first ice lantern fair. Diverse winter activities gradually began to appear since then, and the first ice and snow festival was held in 1985.
Ice and snow have become a magnet for tourism in Harbin, which has been vigorously promoting winter tourism by making full use of its sufficient ice and snow resources.
After development of a few decades, Harbin has gained international attention for its increasingly popular winter extravaganza, the International Ice and Snow Festival, which features massive, elaborate ice sculptures, competitions and winter sports.
In the "2021 China Ice and Snow Tourism Development Online Forum", Harbin ranked first among the "China Top 10 Ice and Snow Tourism Destinations". Every winter, visitors from home and abroad inundate Harbin, increasing consumption, creating jobs and stimulating the local economy.
Every winter, the city sees record numbers of bank transactions and airport passengers. Visitors are finding it difficult to find hotel rooms and taxis. The passenger throughput of Harbin Taiping International Airport ranks first among the four major airports in Northeast China for five consecutive years.
Boosted by strong consumer demand, tourism industry has become a pillar of growth for the economy of the city. During the 13th five-year Plan period (2016-2020), Harbin received 406 million tourists and made tourism revenue of 627.13 billion yuan (around 96.39 billion U.S. dollars), which was 1.46 times and 1.86 times that during the 12th five-year Plan (2011-2015) respectively.
Source: The People's Government of Harbin Municipality