Harbin is currently hosting its mesmerizing annual Ice and Snow Festival, unfolding across a vast 810,000 square meters. Illuminated by vibrant lights, the festival showcases an impressive 250,000 cubic meters of intricately carved ice sculptures, casting a magical glow during the night. These remarkable sculptures, some towering several stories high, artfully depict Chinese-style buildings, fairy-tale castles, and even a captivating rendition of Beijing’s iconic Temple of Heaven. The festivities include delightful ice slides for both children and adults, contributing to the festival’s increasing popularity. This year, the daily visitor count has surged to approximately 30,000, a significant increase from the 18,500 recorded in 2018, leading to fully booked hotel rooms and signaling a substantial boost to Harbin’s tourism sector.

Harbin, strategically located near the Russian border in Heilongjiang province, has become a winter hotspot. The New Year’s Ice and Snow Festival drew over 163,200 visitors, generating an impressive 46.18 million yuan ($6.45 million) in income, nearly six times higher than the previous year. Termed an “ice and snow miracle,” Harbin is now a sought-after destination, especially for visitors from warmer southern regions, fondly known as “Southern Little Potatoes.” Ignited by enthralling stories circulating on social media and a collective yearning for respite after the challenges of the COVID-19 era, Harbin has gracefully evolved into an enchanting winter sanctuary. This metamorphosis signifies a distinctive and thriving phase for the city’s burgeoning “ice and snow” economy, adding a touch of allure to its identity.