POSTED: November 25th 2014

Sports Travel: Exploring the 'Jingzhang' - Tourism galore from Beijing to Zhangjiakou

Genting Resort in the Chongli County of Zhangjiakou has just opened the winter sports season / Beijing 2022
Genting Resort in the Chongli County of Zhangjiakou has just opened the winter sports season / Beijing 2022

Wine making has become popular in China and the China Wall Wine Company has branched out internationally / China Wall Wine
Wine making has become popular in China and the China Wall Wine Company has branched out internationally / China Wall Wine

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ / Sports Features Communications  

This is the second part of a two-part article on tourism from Beijing to Zhangjiakou in China.  In this first article, we look at the city of Beijing and its surrounding region.  Beijing is vying to secure the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, hence becoming the first city to host both a Summer and Winter Olympic Games.  In this article, we look beyond Beijing to the city of Zhangjiakou, who is the joint city for the bidding on the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

(SFC) The city of Zhangjiakou (jahng – jyah – koh) is located approximately 200 kilometers (120 miles) northwest of Beijing.  This city of just over four million people nicknamed ‘Beijing’s Northern Door’, it is best known as a key transportation link connecting Beijing, northwest China, and Mongolia.  But now it is becoming known as a sports, leisure, and tourism destination, and is all-in on its quest to become known around the world by being the joint bid city with Bejing for the 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games.    So let’s take a closer look at this city and region this relatively unknown region of China…

The growth of Zhangjiakou is in directly correlation to the desire by Beijing to foster economic development in the city in Hebei province.  It started with a number of private ski resorts that entered the region over the years, to now where there are nearly 90 snow slopes in Zhangjiakou's ski resorts.

As a result of this growing market in Zhangjiakou for winter sports, tourism has naturally followed – and the city is banking on the successful attainment of their joint Olympics bid to be the catalyst for further growth.  According to Zhang Chunsheng, director of Zhangjiakou's bid office for the 2022 Winter Olympics, “our ultimate goal is to develop Zhangjiakou into a world-class tourism destination… remember Lillehammer was once unknown like Zhangjiakou. So was Sochi. We have a chance."

So what else can tourist doing in Zhangjiakou and the Hebei Province beyond winter activities?  For one, the region is home to one of the most prominent wine regions.  The birthplace of China’s most internationally renowned brand of wine (Great Wall Wine Company), many of the vineyards that supply the wine company are located along the Jingzhang Expressway between the city and Beijing.  The region is best known for its Dry White Wines, but also produces Dry Merlot, Chenin Blanc, and Sparkling Wines.

Zhangjiakou is also known for its historical architecture and cultural sites.  With buildings dating back over a millennium, NuanQuan Village is the only historical and cultural town recognized in Hebei Province, and is known for its DaShuHua Festival of Lights.  Other places to visit would include the fortress of Xigubu with over 200 courtyards, the Zhangjiakou Blockhouse, Dajing Gate, and Yunquan Temple.  And of course there is their section of the Great Wall of China too…

There are plenty of day trips that can be made from Zhangjiakou to entertain the adventurer or naturalist in you.  Bashang Grassland is about 200 meters northeast, consisting of exquisite prairieland with natural landscapes created because of its unique climate and geographical positioning.  This area features horseback and camel riding, shooting, archery, and camping.  Midway between Beijing and Zhangjiakou you can find Tianmo Desert, Guanting Reservoir, and Jundu Mountain – all prime areas for hiking and enjoying the outdoors.

Culture and history.  Ecotourism and natural environments.  Sports, tourism, and leisure.  The city of Beijing is continuing to grow to become a major hallmark sports and tourist destination.  Coupled with that is the growth of the new tourist spot of Zhangjiakou with year-round leisure and activities.  There is a lot more to the Jingzhang area of China than meets the eye – come check it out for yourself!

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is in his seventh year as a Professor of Sport Business at Saint Leo University and fourth year as Chair of the Department of Sport Business, International Tourism and Hospitality Management. He will be starting a new position as tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia in January 2015. He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in the areas of sport marketing, tourism, and facility/event management.  

Keywords · Sports Tourism · Beijing · Zhangjiakou · Winter Olympics · Olympic Games

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