SCIO press conference on progress of green Olympics and sustainability for Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games

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Beijing Youth Daily:

My question is about urban and regional development. Since China won the bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in 2015, many villages around the competition zones, such as Yanqing district in Beijing and Chongli district in Zhangjiakou, have boomed thanks to the Winter Olympics. With the construction of significant infrastructure, hotels, and venues, many changes have been made in these villages as well as to the life of their inhabitants. Are these changes sustainable? How can you demonstrate this? Thank you.

Yu Bo:

Thank you for your question and your concern about the work of the Yanqing competition zone. The Winter Olympic Games have indeed brought great changes to and played a driving role in the development of the surrounding areas, promoting Yanqing to speed up the construction of the most beautiful Winter Olympic City. In terms of achievements, Yanqing has made notable progress in the construction of infrastructure. The Beijing-Chongli Expressway and Yanqing branch line of the Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway have been completed and opened to traffic. Yanqing has completely broken transport bottlenecks through three expressways and a high-speed railway. Meanwhile, the energy structure of Yanqing district has also undergone profound changes through leapfrogging development of power infrastructure and the construction of its first gas pipeline. Notable progress has been made in industrial development. Yanqing has built world-class Olympic venues and pooled abundant ice and snow resources. Yanqing also has built many international brand hotels, with 18 star-rated hotels and nearly 12,000 beds. Meanwhile, Yanqing has created a homestay brand named "Yanqing Household" with more than 500 courtyard homestays and more than 1,000 star-ranked homestays managed in an orderly manner. The ice-snow tourism industry has grown significantly. Houheilongmiao Village, in the surrounding area of Yanqing district, has grown from a typical low-income village into a national key village for rural tourism. Employment has boomed, and income has increased significantly. We have provided training programs for 100,000 people, helping over 7,000 people find better quality jobs in the local area. We set up the Haituo Farmer Ski Team, with most of its members coming from Zhangshanying village near the competition zone. It now has nearly 100 farmer-turned ski members, of which more than 30 have obtained qualification certificates recognized by professional organizations and become professional ski coaches, referees, and athletes. This enabled local farmers to truly take ice and snow sports as a career, making a good start for local employment and income increases.

In terms of sustainable development, we have formulated the implementation plan and task list of post-competition utilization and industrial development with a high starting point and high standard, and all works have been conducted in an orderly manner. The Yanqing Olympic Zone has been officially approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and will open to the general public in May 2022. The Yanqing Haituo Mountain area has been selected as one of the first national ski vacation destinations. We will continue to speed up the construction of the most beautiful Winter Olympics City, ensure development dividends brought by the Winter Olympics will benefit the people of Yanqing, and make efforts to build Yanqing into a paragon in Winter Olympics heritage utilization. Thank you.

Liu Haifeng:

Thank you for your question. Let me introduce the details of Zhangjiakou city. As you have mentioned, the Winter Olympics has brought about earth-shaking changes to the lives and work of the local people. This is mainly manifested in the following three aspects:

In terms of the living environment, the ecological environment has continued to improve. The Beijing-Zhangjiakou high-speed railway and the Beijing-Chongli Expressway have opened to traffic. Municipal facilities and the appearance of urban and rural areas have also been comprehensively upgraded. Chongli has witnessed tremendous changes and greatly enhanced people's sense of gain.

In terms of living standards, according to incomplete statistics, one out of every five people in Chongli is currently engaged in ice and snow-related work, and more than 30,000 people are participating in the ice and snow and tourism industry directly or indirectly, ensuring that people get a stable job and has greatly improved their quality of life.  

On a spiritual level, Chongli, as a city of the Winter Olympics, has become more and more closely connected with the international community, enabling people to have a stronger sense of pride and honor. It has created a positive atmosphere in which people participate spontaneously in building their beautiful hometown and actively serving the Winter Olympics. To make the dividends of the Winter Olympics benefit more people in a sustainable way is also the goal and direction of our work. In the next step, we will fully utilize the resources of the Winter Olympics.

First, we will take the initiative to plan the use of the venues after the Winter Olympics. The Zhangjiakou municipal government has identified 2022 as the year to promote the Olympic economy. We will implement a number of iconic, leading, and influential conventions, exhibitions, and forums with the aim of building Chongli into an international ice and snow tourism destination and high-end convention and exhibition center. At present, the "three venues and one Olympic Village" have signed cooperation agreements with relevant enterprises. We will hold more than 30 sports events and exhibitions throughout the year. Taizicheng Ice and Snow Town has also reached a cooperation intention on convention and exhibition with the relevant institutions in Beijing. We will hold high-level forums such as the "Arc of Ice and Snow" Chongli Summit this year. We will strive to turn the Olympic effects into economic benefits by vigorously developing new forms of business such as sports events, exhibitions, and forums. 

Second, we will vigorously enhance the role of snow and ice sports. We will continue to give full play to the leading role of the Winter Olympics cities. While making full preparations for various events, including the fourth Ice and Snow Games in Zhangjiakou, we will introduce a number of high-level domestic events to gather resources and popularity. We will further improve the development system of snow and ice sports, promote the popularization of snow and ice sports, and ensure that more than 2 million people participate in snow and ice sports during the whole snow season.  

Third, we will actively cultivate new business forms, which can increase people's income. We will adhere to integrated development guided by sports, empowered by culture, and driven by tourism. We will create a number of representative and influential tourism routes for the purposes of sports and leisure, study and team building, and health and wellness, promoting the integrated development of sports, culture, and tourism industries. This year, we will focus on improving leisure consumption infrastructure. We will actively introduce a number of chain stores and specialty restaurants, vigorously promote Olympic licensed products and Chongli's menu of Winter Olympics delicacies, and promote new forms of rural tourism such as characteristic homestays and specialty restaurants. We will strive to ensure that people have more stable jobs, increase income and become richer. Thank you.

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