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Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei zone: Rise of new growth engine

China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-22 10:08

Chinese Winter Olympics warms local businesses

By ZHANG YU in Shijiazhuang

Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei zone: Rise of new growth engine

Ski lovers receive training at a ski resort in Chongli, Hebei province, on Dec 10, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

The booming snow-related tourism, as a result of the upcoming Beijing-Hebei Winter Olympics, has brought positive changes for Hebei's residents.

Bai Liping said he loved skiing, though not an expert in the sport, because ski-fueled snow-tourism in Zhangjiakou has brought him job security.

He runs a small restaurant that serves local cuisine in Chongli district, Zhangjiakou, in North China's Hebei province, where most of the snow-based events of the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held.

Bai said: "My cousin encouraged me to open the restaurant in 2014 when the bid for the Olympics made Chongli famous and her own restaurant became crowded with tourists and ski lovers."

Tempted by the idea of a restaurant full of paying customers, he gave up his old job as a truck driver.

"It was dangerous because I had to keep driving trucks for a long time each day."

But Bai's decision turned out to be right. Tables in his restaurant were always full during the ski season.

"For this season, tourists eating in my restaurant increased by roughly 50 percent compared with the same period last year," Bai said.

According to Bai, most of his customers were from neighboring Beijing and Tianjin.

The integrated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei province-a national strategy started in 2014-makes it convenient for people in Beijing and Tianjin to go to Zhangjiakou because of better transportation links.

According to Dereck Ji, a senior partner of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, hosting the Games is going to accelerate the implementation of pollution control measures and introduce more measures to improve the region's environment.

Also, a high-speed railway between the capital and Zhangjiakou is under construction.

It will take only 50 minutes or so to take the train when completed in 2019, as planned, much faster than the current three hours' drive.

Zhangjiakou, together with Beijing, succeeded in bidding for the 2022 Winter Games in 2015.

The successful bid made Zhangjiakou a key point on the integrated transportation map of the region.

Apart from the high-speed railway, two new railways and two new expressways linking Beijing, Zhangjiakou, and their neighboring cities are under construction.

Last year, Zhangjiakou brought in 106 projects transferred from the capital with an investment of 38.5 billion yuan ($5.6 billion).

During the Spring Festival holiday (Jan27-Feb2), Zhangjiakou received 2.4 million tourists from home and abroad, up by 29.37 percent compared with the same period last year, according to the Zhangjiakou Tourism Bureau.

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