BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China's commitment to engage 300 million people in winter sports has already become a reality, a survey has found.
Over 346 million Chinese people have participated in winter sports activities since Beijing's successful bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics in 2015, according to statistics released on Wednesday by China's National Bureau of Statistics.
Winter sports appear to be more popular among youths, as 82 million participants are aged between 18 and 30, accounting for 37.27 percent of the total population.
Of the 346 million people, 143 million live in east China, 51 million in the northeast, 84 million in the west and 68 million in the central part of the country.
Thanks to Beijing 2022, winter sports have also taken root in areas like the southern province of Guangdong, as well as the western Xinjiang and Tibet Autonomous Regions.
The survey found that 93 percent of the 346 million people engaged in winter sports spontaneously, and over 86 percent took part either for entertainment or physical exercise. Nearly 40 percent participated in winter sports at least once a year, while around 11 percent took part more than three times every year.
Public enthusiasm for winter sports has been boosted by a boom in the construction of facilities.
China now has 654 standard ice rinks, an increase of 317 percent from 2015. The number of indoor and outdoor ski resorts reached 803, up from 568 ski resorts in 2015.
The eighth National Public Ice and Snow Season opened in Hubei Province last month, and will run through to April. Over 1,200 public winter sports activities were organized across the country in 2021, involving more than 100 million people, 10 times more than the first edition of the National Public Ice and Snow Season in 2014.
Also, according to data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Chinese people made 254 million winter sports-related trips last year.
The upcoming Winter Games is expected to further boost winter sports tourism with an estimated 305 million trips by the Chinese people during the current winter season. ■