HARBIN, Dec. 2 (Xinhua) -- Wang Qiushi, a former tourist guide, joined a swarm of live streamers in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, as a popular local wintertime attraction opened for snow and ice tourism.
Standing outside snow-covered dwellings in Xuexiang, which literally means "Snow Town" in Chinese, live streamers spoke about culture, folklore and local history.
"Welcome to my live streaming chatroom. I can show you all the fun happening in this fairyland," Wang told her fans during a live streaming session on China's short-video platform Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok.
The snow town, formerly known as Shuangfeng Forest Farm, kicked off the snow and ice tourism season on Nov. 26. The winter tourism season can last up to seven months when the average snow pile on the ground reaches 2 meters.
As international tourism was hit hard by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wang had to look for other sources of income.
She said she planned to stay in the snow town for over a month to seize the opportunities brought about by the public craze for snow and ice travel.
Gao Xiuli, a native of Xuexiang, uses live streaming to showcase her characteristic homestay as well as local specialties such as wild vegetables and dry fruits.
Her live streams attract many tourists to make online reservations for guestrooms in her homestay.
Gao said when she and her husband first started the B&B business in 2006, there were only four guestrooms. But with Xuexiang gaining popularity, they have now expanded the homestay to nine guestrooms.
The forest farm area was officially established as the Xuexiang National Forest Park in 2001, and a complete ban on commercial logging in the area was imposed in 2014.
"It is the popularity of snow and ice tourism in China that has helped transform the remote region into an invaluable tourism asset," said Liu Shubin, chairman of Heilongjiang Dahailin Forestry Bureau Co., Ltd., which administers the farm.
There are over 200 businesses in Xuexiang. Local authorities have been allocating funds to improve communication facilities and regulate the tourism market in order to achieve sustainable development of the tourism industry.