Scorching heat sees people opt for cooler destinations

Updated: Jun 24, 2024 Xinhua Print
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Tourists enjoy the coolness at a "forest above water" scenery spot in Luyang Lake Wetland Park in Yangzhou, Jiangsu province, in early summer. [Photo/Xinhua]

CHANGCHUN — With heat waves sweeping some provinces and regions in recent days, many people have been making plans for summer vacations, often with an eye on cool spots in which to relax.

"This year, I plan to travel to Northeast and Northwest China, where there is not only cooler weather, but also a lot of entertainment options," says Li Panxue, a Beijing resident.

In order to meet the increasingly diverse and personalized demands of tourists, many popular summer destinations in China are actively exploring new methods, tapping resources such as beaches, forests, rivers and lakes, and seizing the new growth point of the summer cooling economy.

Chill spots

In Northeast China's Jilin province, the frozen Tianchi crater lake of Changbai Mountain has just begun to melt, ushering in its most beautiful season.

Located at a high altitude, Changbai Mountain reserve has an average summer temperature of only 22 C. The coolness has made Changbai Mountain a popular tourist spot during the hotter months.

Changbai Mountain is the highest mountain system and an important ecological barrier in Northeast Asia. Tourists come to see the mysterious Tianchi crater lake, enjoy waterfalls and go rafting. The ecological environment of green mountains and clear waters ensures they linger as long as possible.

"It has almost kept its original appearance and is very popular among young people, who can immerse themselves in the natural oxygen bar and enjoy its beauty. The 3.1-kilometer hike takes about two and a half hours," says Gong Xiaolei, head of the Julong Volcanic Stone Forest Scenic Spot of Changbai Mountain.

On June 14, the first Jilin Tourism Development Conference was held at the reserve, officially inaugurating the Changbaishan Global Geopark. The province has set a new tourism development goal of raising its total tourism revenue to 100 billion yuan ($14.06 billion) by 2027, with its tourism industry achieving a trillion-level goal.

The neighboring Heilongjiang province has also benefited from its ecological environment. In recent years, the province has developed travel routes involving forest health spas, leisure and summer vacations, and border sightseeing around its diverse ecological resources, such as large forests, wetlands, lakes and grasslands.

Various tourism products

A team of students from Beijing recently came to Changbai Mountain for a cycling camp. They took a seven-day cycling trip to enjoy the scenery, collecting plant specimens and doing woodwork, and visiting a forest farm, learning about the local culture in the process.

Zheng Wenqiang, the organizer of the activity, says that by expanding the different types of tourism, visitors can enrich their travel routes and experiences, discovering various aspects of the mountain.

Further south, Chongqing municipality is known as one of China's "four ovens" — cities known for their steamy summer temperatures. However, the municipality has come up with a clever solution for visitors, transforming its former air-raid shelters into summer getaway spots.

"It was cool walking into the cave, proving both a 'cyberpunk' feeling and an opportunity to learn about a very important piece of history," says Wang Juehe, a student from North China's Shanxi province who traveled with his parents to Chongqing.

There are over 1,600 former air-raid shelters in Chongqing, covering an area of around 1.1 million square meters. Large clusters of shelters have been transformed into bustling commercial venues, such as hot-pot restaurants, wine cellars, museums, bookstores and snack bars, attracting over 1 million tourists annually and providing employment for more than 100,000 people.

It is just one of many locations across the country that have developed tourism products designed to bring relief from the heat, resulting in a summer tourism boom.

Northwest China's Shaanxi province recently released 23 summer rural leisure tour routes, combined with beautiful pastoral landscapes and regional folk culture. The city of Zhengzhou in Central China's Henan province has also launched water entertainment options to create a cooling experience for tourists.

The city of Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province, boasts relatively cool summer temperatures, due in part to its geography and elevation. Thanks to the cool air and roadside concerts, it has witnessed a 174-percent year-on-year increase in summer travel orders this year, according to data from online travel platform Ctrip.

A report released by the China Tourism Academy in 2023 revealed that the scale of China's summer tourism and related markets was between 1.2 trillion to 1.5 trillion yuan.

Expanding consumption

As temperatures rise, sun-protection products have also taken up prominent positions in shopping malls and e-commerce platforms.

In the past, most consumers of such products were female, but now the proportion of male consumers is increasing year-by-year, says a Taobao shopkeeper. "Especially young people, men born after 2000, have a great demand for sun protection products," says the shopkeeper.

According to the research firm iResearch, the market size of sun-protective clothing and accessories in China reached 74.2 billion yuan in 2023 and is expected to reach 95.8 billion yuan in 2026.

Sun Zhe, associate professor at Jilin University's school of economics, says the summer consumption market has huge potential, with relevant enterprises providing consumers with a wealth of choices, adding that relevant departments should provide strong guarantees for the vigorous development of the summer economy.

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