Harbin’s enchanting annual Ice and Snow Festival is currently unfolding, spanning a vast 810,000 square meters and showcasing an impressive 250,000 cubic meters of meticulously carved ice sculptures illuminated by vibrant lights, casting a magical glow during the night. These magnificent sculptures, some reaching several stories high, artfully depict Chinese-style buildings, fairy-tale castles, and even a captivating rendition of Beijing’s iconic Temple of Heaven. Adding to the festivities, there are delightful ice slides catering to both children and adults, contributing to the festival’s burgeoning popularity. This year, the daily visitor count has surged to approximately 30,000, a remarkable increase from the 18,500 recorded in 2018. The overwhelming interest has resulted in fully booked hotel rooms, signaling a substantial boost to Harbin’s tourism sector.

Situated in the northern province of Heilongjiang, Harbin’s strategic location near the Russian border has solidified its status as a winter hotspot. The festival’s triumphant run during the New Year holidays saw an impressive turnout of over 163,200 visitors, translating into a substantial income of 46.18 million yuan ($6.45 million), nearly six times higher than the previous year. This, hailed as an “ice and snow miracle,” has propelled Harbin into a highly sought-after destination, particularly for visitors from warmer southern regions, affectionately referred to as “Southern Little Potatoes.” The upswing in enthusiasm, propelled by captivating narratives on social platforms and a communal longing for relaxation after the tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic, has seamlessly metamorphosed Harbin into an enchanting winter haven. This transformation serves as a defining and prosperous chapter for the city’s emerging “ice and snow” economy, ushering in a season of unprecedented growth and allure.