Overseas ski resorts cater to the Chinese
Global ski resorts are hoping it’s downhill all the way for Chinese skiers whose increasing presence on the slopes is leading to a blizzard of change for a sport once considered the exclusive domain of the elite.
Chinese skiers are flocking to world-class ski resorts, and Canada has been hiring increasing numbers of Chinese or Chinese-speaking instructors, according to the Canadian Tourism Commission.
“More Chinese people are coming to Canada to ski and we are hiring more Chinese instructors,” said Derek Galpin, the commission’s chief representative in China.
“We are also considering sending Canadian instructors to China to further boost skiing in China.”
The commission held the Canada Nanshan Ski Mogul Slope Championship on Feb 23 at the Nanshan ski resort on the outskirts of the capital.
The commission said it would hold more promotional activities to boost the sport while attracting more tourists to its ski resorts.
The number of Chinese tourists heading to Canada registered an annual rise of about 20 percent in 2013. Increased flights and easier visa procedures suggest this number should at least be maintained in 2014.
Yang Jinsong, a professor of international tourism at the China Tourism Academy, said Chinese people are increasingly relishing the challenge of the slopes, and the market has huge potential.
But it’s not just skiing that attracts so many, he said. Chinese tourists also want to experience other activities, such as sleigh rides, snowboarding, dog sledding, snow tubing, ice fishing and viewing polar bears in their natural habitat.
Galpin agreed: “Different from the European and US tourists, who came mainly for the skiing, our study shows the Chinese are also interested in other winter activities.”
Canada is not alone in its efforts to get more people onto its slopes.
Switzerland has trained eight Chinese ski instructors and placed them in leading resorts such as St. Moritz, Davos, Zermatt and Gstaad, according to travelerstoday.com.
The Swiss Tourist Office invited Chinese delegates to spend four months sampling the slopes and asked them to suggest improvements specifically for Chinese tourists.
About 5 million Chinese tourists vacation in the Swiss Alps each year, the office said.