China’s Fairy-tale Ice Festival Attracts Mammoth Visitors

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A visitor pulls a tire with a child sitting on it at the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival, in Harbin, Heilongjiang province, China January 4, 2024. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang/ File photo

The Ice and Snow Festival celebrated annually by China’s Harbin, the capital of Heilongjiang in the country’s northern province saw a record 30,000 tourists on Friday, January 5, 2024.

The opening displayed fairy-tale ice sculptures of different colours in an ice park that measures 810,000 square metres. Reuters reports that spectators and visitors of this year’s ice festival enjoyed 250,000 “cubic metres of sculptured ice, harvested from the nearby frozen Songhua River, and lit up at night with colourful lights.”

Unlike Friday’s attendance and attraction, 2023 saw around 18, 500 tourists throng the venue for a spectacular ice showmanship. The ice park boasts sculptures built to replicate Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, fairy-tale castles, towers, Chinese-designed buildings and bridges.

“In 2018, the average number of people attending the park per day was around 18,500… So the overall number of people has close to doubled compared to previous years,” the marketing vice director of the festival, Sun Zemin told Reuters.

Reuters further reports that hotel rooms around the northern province of China have been fully booked, even past the Spring festival which will be observed in the region again in February. This, obviously is the impact of the Ice and Snow Festival in January.

The tourism market in China seems to have started on a good note when just five days into the new year, the country has made over €5 million from 163,200 visitations to the festival park. The Heilongjiang TV station reports the current figure to be six times higher than what was realised in 2023.

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