Starwood Opens First Chinese Ski Resort
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has opened its first dual-branded ski resort complex in Changbaishan, north-east China. The Sheraton Changbaishan Resort and The Westin Changbaishan Resort, the group’s first ski resorts in Asia Pacific, are located next to the Changbai Mountains, one of China’s leading ski destinations. Global hospitality giant Intercontinental Hotel Group’s Holiday Inn brand also opened its first ski resort in the area in August 2012.
Winter sports have become a popular activity for wealthy Chinese consumers. In 2005, the China Ski Association estimated that five million Chinese people had visited ski resorts, compared to 200,000 in 2000. It predicts that by 2014 the number will have risen to 20 million. French hotel brand Club Med, which opened a ski resort in Yabuli, north-east China in 2010, reports that visitors increased by 20% in the property’s second year of operation, with the majority (75%) from the Chinese mainland.
It was revealed at the 2012 International Luxury Travel Market Asia that China’s young luxury travellers favour adventure or experiential travel. Ski resorts in China are capitalising on this by offering luxury and adventure. Read more about how the winter sports market in north-east Asia is developing in Winter Sports Vacations.