Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games boosts China’s regional development, winter sports

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games has promoted coordinated development in the region, as well as the development of the country’s winter sports industry.

Chongli, a previously impoverished district of Zhangjiakou, the co-host city of the games in Hebei province, is one of the beneficiaries.

Photo shows the Zhangjiakou High-speed Railway Station of the high-speed railway line connecting Beijing and Zhangjiakou in north China’s Hebei province. (Photo/Xinhua)

Named as one of the “52 places to travel to in 2019” by the New York Times, the district has become a popular skiing destination since it was selected to stage most of the skiing events for the games in 2015.

Chongli has built seven large-scale ski resorts, compared to only four before it won the bid, with a total of 169 ski tracks. During the 2018-2019 winter season, the district sold over 1 million ski tickets, generating tourism revenue of 2.05 billion yuan ($317.4 million).

In May 2019, Chongli bid farewell to poverty, and now one in four residents in Chongli works in the snow and ice industry.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games has also facilitated the coordinated development of Beijing and Hebei province in transportation, environment, industry and public services.

Photo shows China’s star skater Wu Dajing (R) at the China National Short Track Speed Skating Championships. (Photo/Xinhua)

The operation of a high-speed railway linking Beijing and Zhangjiakou in December 2019 has slashed the travel time between the two cities to less than 1 hour, meanwhile, the operation of an expressway connecting Beijing and Chongli in early 2020 has made travel between the two places a lot easier.

Convenient traffic also brings more ski fans. Data showed that the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway line received over 6.8 million tourists in the first year of its operation.

A power grid project in Zhangbei county of Zhangjiakou city supplies Beijing with clean electricity, making Beijing 2022 the first Olympic Games in history to use exclusively green energy sources. Meanwhile, Beijing has given greater assistance to Zhangjiakou so that the latter could better host the games.

Taking Beijing 2022 as an opportunity, China plans to motivate 300 million people to take part in winter sports. However, the popularity of winter sports is not just confined to the colder areas in the country, as southern China is seeing a huge surge in interest and is providing more winter sports facilities as well.

Statistics show that the number of tourists taking part in winter sports in east China’s Zhejiang province, southwest China’s Guizhou province, and central China’s Hubei province, registered an average annual growth of about 10 percent in recent years.

Photo shows people skiing at a ski resort in Lin’an, Hangzhou, capital city of east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo/Xinhua)

According to a report, Chinese tourists are expected to make 230 million trips featuring ice and snow in the 2020-2021 winter season, generating more than 390 billion yuan in revenue.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), believes that China’s vision to engage 300 million Chinese people in winter sports is a huge legacy for the Chinese people, and the legacy is as huge for the global winter sports.

Beijing 2022 is really a landmark event for the global development of winter sports, Bach said recently. The IOC chief hailed the preparation of the event as a “miracle,” saying that the preparation work for the games has progressed so smoothly despite the challenges of the pandemic.

Photo shows China’s National Sliding Center, a venue for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games. (Photo/Xinhua)

With around one year to go before the games open, all 12 competition venues in the three competition zones in Beijing and Zhangjiakou have been completed. Many venues have made innovative breakthroughs in technical processes and construction techniques. For example, the Water Cube, or the National Aquatic Center, a key legacy of the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics, has been turned into a competition arena for curling during Beijing 2022.

China has vowed for full participation in all 109 events and a best-ever performance in the history of the Winter Olympics. Over the past two years, the country has got closer to its goal despite challenges, demonstrating its ability to concentrate resources to accomplish large undertakings. 

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