Liking it deep and crisp and even

Updated: 2013-03-04 07:51

By Liu Zheng (China Daily)

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 Liking it deep and crisp and even

Liu Mingwen, owner of China Snow Town's first family hostel, shows off one of his guestrooms covered with thick snow in China's Heilongjiang province. Liu Zheng / For China Daily

Snow arrived earlier in Northeast China this winter but, thankfully for those who profit from it, so did the snow tourism in Heilongjiang province.

The average temperature in the region was three degrees lower than the comparable period last year and hit -30 Celsius in December 2012.

As a result of increased interest from tourists across the country, the number of visitors at China's Snow Town in Dahailin and Yabuli Ski Resort is rapidly increasing.

From mid-November to the end of December, figures rose 50 percent year-on-year, totaling nearly 20,000.

At China's Snow Town, the average hotel occupancy rate reached 85 percent, an increase of 40 percent year-on-year.

According to Ning Xiaofeng, deputy director of the Tourism Bureau of China's Snow Town, the snow season came one month earlier than in 2011. The peak period last year began in mid November.

In China's Snow Town, snow usually starts to fall at the end of October. By mid-November the snow was 30 to 40 centimeters deep.

Individual tourists apart, most tour groups come from the Pearl River Delta or the Yangtze River Delta in southern China. Some are from Southeast Asia.

Zhao Chunjie, deputy general manager of Heilongjiang Blue Sun International Travel Service, said Yabuli Ski Resort has attracted more local travelers. The number of visitors at the resort increased about 2 percent compared with the same period in 2011, reported Life Daily, a daily publication in Heilongjiang province.

"In December, with the gradual opening of Heilongjiang's snow tourism attractions, such as Harbin Ice and Snow World, Harbin Ice Lantern Festival and Harbin Sun Island International Snow Sculpture Art Expo, visitors from Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shanghai and other coastal cities of the country have been attracted to enjoy the scenery. December is the peak time for Heilongjiang's snow tourism industry," said An Yuzhong, deputy manager of Harbin Youth International Travel Service.

Tourists' bookings at Harbin Youth International Travel Service have increased by 20 to 30 percent year-on-year in recent years, with most visitors arranging to depart in mid-February.

The peak season in the region usually begins around Chinese New Year, when many visitors from South China celebrate the festival with family members.