Olympics to bring lasting economic and health benefits
Organisers of the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games believe the venues, services and infrastructure developed to host the event will facilitate sustainable regional economic development and boost people’s well-being.
Post-Games plans have been drawn up for all venues built specifically for the Olympics, while the efforts on ecological conservation, reducing carbon emissions and long-term winter sports promotion have yielded positive results, according to a sustainability report released by the organizing committee.
“This report shows that Beijing 2022 recognizes the responsibility to integrate sustainability principles throughout all stages of the Games’ preparation,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said at the report’s release.
He said the Games was already providing tangible social and economic benefits for the people in Zhangjiakou and Yanqing, which are co-hosting the event along with Beijing.
“The highlight is not about refurbishing old venues and turning them into something totally different,” said Liu Yumin, director of planning, construction and sustainable development of the Beijing 2022 organizing committee. “It’s about diversifying the functions of those venues and making them compatible with various purposes while expanding their businesses.”
The Olympic effect
China has already reaped many benefits from being awarded the Games back in 2015.
The China Daily website has reported that participation in snow and ice sports in China has grown exponentially, with skiing and ice skating venues popping up all over the country.
It highlighted the Changsha Xiangjiang Happy City venue, which has seen visitor numbers soar. Since July 2020 the indoor ski venue in Changsha, Hunan province, has welcomed some 400,000 visitors, with 2,500 visitors daily during the summer months.
“In the southern part of China, where there is hardly any snow, many people didn’t know much about skiing before. Now, more and more people are willing to learn about it and try the sport. In terms of the market, the positioning of indoor ski venues in the region is similar to theme parks,” said Liu Yu, a Changsha Xiangjiang Happy City salesperson.
“Many companies in the southern part of China like to organize group ski outings for their staff, while local residents tend to prefer going skiing than other group events,” Liu said.
The increasing number of indoor ski venues has seen a big increase in participation in snow sports.
In 2020, 2.69 million people went skiing at indoor ski venues in China, accounting for 21% of the total number of people who went skiing during the year. Nationwide, there were 36 indoor ski resorts by the end of 2020, the highest globally, according to an industry research report by the Beijing Ski Association.
“From 2014 to 2020, the number of ski resorts and the quality of facilities have improved significantly. The number of skiers in China has risen from about 10 million in 2014 to more than 20 million in 2020, which is more than a 100% surge,” said Wu Bin, vice-chairman of the Beijing Ski Association.