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Bed-and-breakfast lodges near ski resorts see spike in bookings

By ZHU WENQIAN | China Daily | Updated: 2023-11-30 09:29
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The owner of a B&B lodge near a ski resort in Jilin, Jilin province, readies a room on Nov 23. ZHANG NAN/XINHUA

Bed-and-breakfast lodges near popular ski resorts have seen a spurt in bookings, driven by strong consumer demand for skiing activities this winter.

As large-scale domestic ski resorts began operations this year, some B&B service providers nearby have already received bookings up to Spring Festival next year.

Most of these ski resorts are located in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, Zhangjiakou of Hebei province and Changbai Mountain area in Jilin province, according to vacation rentals platform Tujia.

A B&B facility at Hemu village in the Altay Mountains of Xinjiang, where skiers can go skiing directly from their lodges, received bookings for rooms as early as in October. Certain types of rooms have already been fully booked for the Spring Festival period, Tujia said.

In Xinjiang, the skiing season usually spans November to March, and some guests stay for three months at B&B lodges, where they often watch television, play games and have hotpots together. These lodges also provide other activities such as horse riding, snowmobiling and tea parties, it said.

As of the first week of November, booking volumes of B&Bs related to skiing across the country surged 2.4 times compared with the same period of 2019, or before the COVID-19 pandemic. The average booking price was nearly 800 yuan ($112) per night, according to Tujia.

Forlong Four Seasons Town, a ski-in and ski-out resort in Zhangjiakou, saw all of its nearly 1,200 rooms booked for the weekend of Nov 18 and 19, or the first weekend after the skiing resort began operations.

During popular periods such as Christmas and New Year, rooms are also nearly fully booked.

"Consumers have shown increasingly higher demand in terms of the quality of accommodation compared to earlier. With a limited number of rooms, skiers usually tend to book rooms in advance," said Gao Haoran, product development manager of Forlong Four Seasons Town.

Meanwhile, B&Bs in Guangzhou and Shenzhen of Guangdong province have become some of the most popular choices for skiers. With indoor skiing resorts in cities, people are no longer restricted to the winter season as they can go skiing anytime.

Since November, sales of admission tickets to indoor skiing resorts in Guangzhou, Chongqing and Kunming, Yunnan province, have jumped more than 1.5 times compared to the same period in 2019, according to Qunar, a Beijing-based online travel agency.

"I didn't expect that many people from South China show such enthusiasm for skiing. At a skiing resort in Guangzhou, I saw many skiers from Foshan, Shenzhen and Hong Kong," said Wang Fang, who traveled to Guangzhou from Beijing recently.

"There are many B&B options near the resorts in Guangzhou. They are located really close by and boast good facilities," she said.

Xi'an in Shaanxi province, Chengdu in Sichuan province, and Hangzhou in Zhejiang province also have a number of indoor skiing resorts. B&Bs near these resorts have also received good bookings, Tujia said.

Young Chinese consumers have also been attracted to hot springs located near high-end resorts this winter.

Some top domestic destinations for hot springs include Chongqing, Beijing, and Changzhou and Nanjing in Jiangsu province, and Zhuhai in Guangdong province, according to Group, China's largest online travel agency.

Chinese travelers have also indicated their interest in going to hot springs abroad, and several Japanese cities have topped the list of such popular destinations.

Some frequently searched overseas destinations for hot springs include Reykjavik in Iceland, Sapporo in Japan, and Pamukkale in Turkiye, found.

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