SNOW BIZ冬天正是滑雪天

Discovery - - DISCOVERIES - Mark Jones Editorial director Mark Jones編輯總監

IT’S A FAMILIAR problem for hoteliers: how do you fill rooms in the low season? In 1864, Johannes Badrutt came up with an idea – and a bet. Wealthy British visitors liked to summer at his guesthouse in the Swiss mountain resort of St Moritz. He invited them to return in the winter with a guarantee it would be sunny and warm enough for them to enjoy the terrace in their shirtsleeves. And if it weren’t? He’d pay their travelling expenses.

The British came, enjoyed the sunshine, but wondered what they’d do all day given their favourite walks were now under metres of snow. So they made skis and toboggans – and winter tourism was born.

This month, the 23rd Olympic Winter Games take place in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang. A pastime has become a multitude of different professional sports and a huge industry. There are around 400 million ‘skier visits’ per year, according to the latest International Report on Snow and Mountain Tourism. Europe hosts the most skiers, but Asia accounts for 15 per cent of the global market. That will change. Last November, the Chinese government announced plans to get 300 million people involved in winter sports by the time Beijing hosts the next games in 2022.

In this issue, writer Paul McComish charts the rise of winter sports in Asia. He describes the part the Olympics played in establishing Japan as its premier destination – and just how badly China has got the snow-white bug.

Our cover is based on the Chinese character for ‘snow’, as interpreted by the calligrapher Wah Gor (pictured). The use of a traditional artform is appropriate if you believe a Chinese news agency story from 2006. It reported that skiing is not exactly new in China: cliff paintings discovered in the remote northwest showed hunters standing on long boards with poles in their hands. Dating them is tricky, but they were made at least 10,000 years ago.

酒店與旅館的老闆經常都要面對一個難題,就是如何在淡季維持良好的入住率? 1864年,旅館東主Johannes Badrutt想出一個好主意,並且與他的客人打賭。他的旅館位於瑞士山間度假村St Moritz,當時富裕的英國人會在夏季前來他的旅館度假。他邀請這些客人冬季時再度光臨,並保證到時他們可以身穿單薄的衣服,在陽台上盡情享受溫暖的陽光。如果客人沒有度過陽光燦爛的假期那怎麼辦?到時他就會代客人支付旅費。



作者Paul McComish於本期撰文介紹冬季運動在亞洲掀起的熱潮。他在文章中指出舉辦冬奧令日本成為冬季旅遊勝地,並講述中國人如何熱衷滑雪。


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