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Beijing urges private sector to help build venues for 2022 Games

By Ren Xiaojin | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-21 08:01

Beijing's local government is encouraging private sector to participate in the construction and operation of snow venues for Winter Olympics, government officials said in a recent news conference.

To prepare for the 2022 Games, Beijing plans to build a snow sport center with topnotch facilities, as well as Olympics and media villages in Yanqing district.

According to Cheng Daqing, director of the Development and Reform Commission of Yanqing district, the running of snow venues and the construction of Olympics venues and media villages will adopt a public-private partnership (PPP) mode and welcome capital from the private sector.

Cheng said such a mode will help cultivate winter sports companies and improve the underdeveloped industrial chain.

"By innovating in financing mechanism and encouraging private capital, advanced technology and management experience can be applied to the winter sports industry," Cheng said. "The government can concentrate on their job in market-monitoring rather than taking part in the operation of capital."

Zhang Yuan, with the Party's standing committee of Yanqing district, said winter sports resorts usually are only profitable in the snow season, but the future resort in Yanqing is expected to maintain growth, serving as a holiday resort, training center and conference venue throughout the year.

The 2.8 billion yuan ($422 million) project will open for tenders at the end of this year.

According to the 2017 International Report on Snow & Mountain Tourism by Laurent Vanat, a senior industrial consultant, although China has seen continuous growth in the number of skiing resorts, there are only a few resorts and venues equipped with sufficient hospitality facilities and high-quality slopes.

Li Na, a Beijing-based private ski club member, said the future snow venues will provide players closer resorts with better traffic connection, to help in their training.

"Currently, we usually go to Thaiwoo or Wanlong Ski Resort in Hebei province, and the hardest part is to coordinate just enough number of people to share the gas and drive," she said. "Outskirts of Beijing also have some skiing centers but they are smaller in size with one or two artificial snow slopes."

Li added that hotel services near the skiing center in Beijing were not so satisfying, so members usually prefer not to stay for the night, even though a round trip in a day after skiing can be rather exhausting.

"I think if the venue in Yanqing were to have really nice hotels and top slopes, we would certainly love to go," Li said.

The future venue is also the latest effort to fulfill the need of the emerging winter sports market, which has a trillion yuan profit potential.

"The number of winter sports players has grown from 8.05 million in 2014 to 11.33 million in 2016 at an annual growth rate of 18.6 percent," Zhang said. "The growth in northern China is especially strong, which accounts for a third of the entire number."

He said the country has immense market potential in the snow-related industry, with more than 22 million tourists coming to Yanqing district every year, while the annual number of tourists visiting Beijing reaches 300 million.

According to the General Administration of Sport of China, the number of ski resorts has increased to 646 in 2016 from 408 in 2013, while the number of skiers climbed to 11.33 million last year.

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