Winter sports development sets hot pace

By WANG MINGJIE in London | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-03-03 07:41
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The Swiss resort of Laax is renowned for its freestyle skiing and snowboarding. CHINA DAILY

Finnish attractions

Finland is another top European winter destination favored by Chinese over the years, particularly the northern city of Rovaniemi, capital of Lapland and hometown of Santa Claus.

Wu Zhaohong, China director for Visit Finland, said, "Among nationalities, Chinese tourists ranked fifth for overnight stays in Finland in 2019, and China was the biggest long-haul source market."

Supported by the China-Finland Year of Winter Sports in 2019, the Nordic country welcomed more than 384,000 arrivals from the Chinese mainland that year, with over 107,000 such visits made during the peak winter season, according to Visit Finland.

In 2019, Chinese visitors to Finland spent a total of $271 million, with each arrival spending an average of $680, Wu said, which is high compared with other markets.

Due to the pandemic, tourist destinations, including ski resorts, have seen a dramatic slump in business since the start of last year, with a lack of Chinese visitors due to travel restrictions.

However, tourism experts are confident that these travelers will play a major role in helping the industry recover in many areas worldwide.

Arlt, from the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute, who sees Chinese tourists spurring an international travel revival, said, "The light at the end of the tunnel is a Chinese lantern."

Pilet, from Switzerland Tourism, said, "Given the situation with the pandemic, I believe the 2022 Winter Olympics will have a special significance and, hopefully, will coincide with the recovery of international winter tourism."

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