POSTED: July 10th 2015

Beyond Beijing: Zhangjiakou a major partner in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Bid

The area is at 1400 meters and has around 90 ski slopes © Getty Images
The area is at 1400 meters and has around 90 ski slopes © Getty Images

Skiers come down the Yunding Ski Field in Chongli near Zhangjiakou @ Getty Images
Skiers come down the Yunding Ski Field in Chongli near Zhangjiakou @ Getty Images

DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ / Sports Features Communications  

(SFC) While much of the spotlight is on the city of Beijing and its efforts to become the first city to be the host of a Summer and Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, only those who have paid close attention to the 2022 Winter Olympic bid process will realize that Beijing has a partner city - Zhangjiakou.

Located nearly 200 km (120 miles) northwest of Beijing, Zhangjiakou is a prefecture-level city with nearly five million residents.  Nicknamed "Beijing's Northern Door", it is situated as a major trading hub between Beijing, the northwest cities in China, and Mongolia.  But it is also known for some excellent skiing, abundant leisure opportunities, and plenty of opportunities for tourist to enjoy.

Zhangjiakou is expected to be the home of the biathlon, Nordic combined, ski jumping, snowboard, and freestyle skiing events.  Located at an elevation of nearly 1400 meters (4600 feet), it is a respected skiing region with nearly 90 snow slopes.  And obviously during the summer months, there is an abundance of hiking and outdoor recreation activities for residents and tourist alike to enjoy.

Beyond skiing, the region is known as one of the most prominent producers of wine in China, including being the birthplace of China's most internationally renowned brand of wine - Great Wall Wine Company. 

Zhangjiakou also features numerous cultural sites and historical architecture across the region.  From the over 1000-year old NuanQuan Village to the fortress of Xigubu, the Dajing Gate, the Yunquan Temple - and of course the Great Wall of China, tourists will not be left wanting for something to do.

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."  But he also adds that bidding and hosting the Olympic Winter Games will add significantly to the urban infrastructure ranging from new facilities to a high-speed train that would cut the trip to Beijing to 40 minutes.

The strategic plan for hosting the Olympic Games in Zhangjiakou focuses on using the "Olympic engine" to enhance five main areas:  (1) enhancing quality of life and social progress for its citizens; (2) upgrade the economic infrastructure; (3) accelerate the extent of openness; (4) enhance regional collaboration within the Hebei Province and beyond to Beijing; and (5) increase the brand of the city and the psychic income associated with being associated as an 'Olympic city'.

We will see on July 31 if Zhangjiakou will get that chance, when the winning bid city is announced during the 128th IOC Session in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.  He has been an academician for 15 years in the areas of sport business management, international tourism, and hospitality management - with special focus on the areas of sport marketing, sport finance, tourism, and facility/event management.  He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in these areas, as well as been actively involved in consulting projects working with a multitude of sport and community organizations ranging from grassroots efforts to hallmark events 

Keywords · Beijing 2022; Olympic Games; Zhangjiakou

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