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Home Tourist Attraction The incredible ‘ice city’ in China, located in a place where temperatures can plummet to -35C

The incredible ‘ice city’ in China, located in a place where temperatures can plummet to -35C

by Staff



The ‘ice city’ of Harbin, the snowy capital of northeast China‘s Heilongjiang province, attracted a record number of visitors over the New Year holiday, many of them drawn by the grand and intricate ice sculptures of its annual Ice and Snow Festival.

The towering ice structures, illuminated in a dazzling array of lights at night, are built from ice blocks harvested from the frozen Songhua River nearby. And there’s no danger of them melting – temperatures in Harbin in the winter can drop to as low as -35C.

This year’s festival helped draw 3.05million visitors to Harbin during the three-day New Year holiday that ended on Monday, generating 5.91billion yuan ($826million/£650million) in tourism revenue, state media agency Xinhua reported on Wednesday.

Those numbers exceeded the number of pre-Covid visits in 2019.

The ‘ice city’ of Harbin attracted a record number of visitors over the New Year holiday, many of them attracted by the grand and intricate ice sculptures of its annual Ice and Snow Festival (pictured)
This year’s festival attracted 3.05million visitors to Harbin during the three-day holiday that ended on Monday, January 1. Visitors are pictured above enjoying the festival on January 2, 2024

Growth in the city’s accommodation and catering sectors during the holiday period more than doubled from 2019, local newspaper Harbin Daily reported. 

The city’s tourism department attributed the growth to Harbin’s increasing popularity on social media platforms, Xinhua said.

The tourism boom occurred as China’s services activity expanded at the fastest pace in five months in December, lifting optimism in the sector to a three-month high.

The festival is illuminated in a dazzling array of lights at night and is set to last until March 2024, according to its website
The festival’s ice structures (pictured) are built from ice blocks harvested from the frozen Songhua River nearby
The tourism boom occurred as China’s services activity expanded at the fastest pace in five months in December

Harbin’s authorities have rolled out activities to attract tourists including live performances and concerts, theme parks and fireworks displays, as well as improving dining, accommodation and shopping services, Xinhua said.

The Ice and Snow Festival park received 163,200 visitors over the New Year holidays, over five times more than a year ago, with almost 40 per cent of those holidaymakers visiting on New Year’s Eve, Heilongjiang provincial television said in a social media post.

That generated 46.18million yuan in income, nearly six times higher than a year ago, the provincial TV station said.

Heilongjiang welcomed 6.619million tourists over the three-day period, nearly triple from a year ago, producing tourism revenue of 6.920billion yuan (£766million/$972million), almost five times the year-ago figure, the station reported.

The Ice and Snow Festival park received 163,200 visitors over the New Year holidays, over five times more than a year ago
Harbin’s tourism department attributed the growth to the city’s increasing popularity on social media platforms

The city government announced a special public holiday, the Ice and Snow Holiday, for Friday, to coincide with the festival’s official opening.

The festival is set to last until late March 2024, according to its website.

The surge in domestic winter tourism has benefited local companies in the sector. 

Shares of ChangBai Mountain Tourism Co, a travel service company based in northeast China, have soared by 26 per cent in Shanghai trading since the last week of December, beating benchmark shares.

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