Harbin Ice and Snow Festival: A Winter Wonderland Draws 3 Million Visitors
① China’s Winter Festival Reopens After Four Years
The ultimate winter wonderland fantasy has finally kicked off. The 40th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival attracted a record number of visitors as soon as it commenced. It is gathering much more attention as the coronavirus pandemic led to the festival’s cancellation for the past four years.
On the opening day, the venue was overcrowded with many tourists from all over China despite the freezing temperature below -4 degrees Fahrenheit.
This year’s Ice Lantern Festival boasts the largest size, promising three times as many ice sculptures as in the past and an array of new attractions. Covering an area of over 872,000 square yards and using over 265,000 cubic yards of ice, there are more than 1,000 ice sculptures on display.
Since its inception in Harbin in 1963, the Winter Festival has become an international ice festival. Praised by global media as a “winter wonderland,” the city has become a hot tourist destination that draws thousands of visitors.
During the New Year holiday alone, 3 million people visited the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival, generating tourism revenue equivalent to 17 billion U.S. dollars. An average of 18 million tourists worldwide see the fairyland of Crystal Palace, which produces an annual income of approximately 44 billion U.S. dollars. The Ice and Snow Festival entrance fee is about 53 U.S. dollars.
As the country’s representative winter festival, Chinese people showed great enthusiasm to witness the official opening of the Ice and Snow Festival. This year, they airlifted a fire phoenix drone and displayed stunning fireworks. The festival is also attracting attention on social media as it offers many photo spots. The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival is held every year from January 5 to the end of February.
② Attractions at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival offers a variety of attractions. The highlight of this year’s festival is a massive 571-yard-long ice slide. The ice slide is always a popular attraction at the festival each year. This year, the number of slides has increased from 8 to 14, and they were made using 16,000 cubic yards of ice. The dizzying ice slide, as high as a five-story building, has been a hot topic in China.
You can also enjoy the Ice and Snow Festival on the Songhua River that runs through downtown Harbin.
On the frozen river, you can experience over 40 programs, such as sledding. Here, both children and adults can have a great time.
The numerous ice sculptures are illuminated at night, allowing you to enjoy a splendid night view.
③ Flood of Refund Requests
Meanwhile, unexpected situations arose at the Harbin Ice and Snow Festival due to the enormous influx of visitors.
From the opening day, the venue was so crowded with visitors that there was no room to move. Visitors had to wait 1-2 hours to enter, and even after entering, they could not enjoy the festival properly. They had to stand in line for many hours to ride the attractions. Visitors waiting in the intense cold of -4 degrees Fahrenheit eventually got angry and demanded refunds.
Unfortunately, the festival organizers suspended ticket sales from the afternoon of that day. The organizers apologized and kindly asked for some understanding, “The number of reservations for the day reached 40,000.” They issued an apology and stated they would make improvements
The Harbin Ice and Snow Festival continues until February and is expected to attract even more tourists.