Though cities like London, Paris, and New York top the lists for Chinese tourists for their sights and luxury shopping, ski vacations are catching on among China’s wealthy, and international hospitality companies are taking notice.
As spending by Chinese tourists shifts from shopping to experiences, more Chinese tourists are heading to the ski slopes.
The Chinese Ski Association estimated that there were only 200,000 Chinese skiers 15 years ago, reports Skift. By 2005, that number had grown to 5 million skiers, and now there are as many as 20 million skiers in China.
International hotel groups are looking to capitalize on this trend. From November 21st-23rd, Beijing Park Hyatt was the venue sponsor of Ski & Style, an event organized by China Rendez-Vous Ltd. The event featured exhibitions by ski wear and outerwear company Bogner and tourism representatives from Switzerland, Iceland, and other skiing destinations.
Hoteliers are not just looking outside of China. Westin and Sheraton recently opened a co-branded luxury ski resort in Jilin Province in northern China, which is located in the Changbai Mountains on the border of China and North Korea.
This renewed interest in skiing comes after years of struggle for China’s ski industry. Up until a few years ago, only a handful of China’s largest ski resorts were profitable, according to the Chinese Ski Association. This all changed as companies such as Club Med realized they had to bring more amenities to the table.
In Club Med’s Yabuli resort, skiing is not the only choice for visitors in winter. About 48 percent of visitors go for the skiing and others are there to enjoy a snow holiday. Guests who are not into skiing can relax with yoga, mahjong, and an outdoor Canadian bath and spa.
image source: flickr/trysil