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Expo to exchange Olympic know-how

Sun Xiaochen
Updated: Aug 29,2018 9:50 AM     China Daily

The World Winter Sports Expo will highlight exchanges in Olympic legacies and promoting mass participation at its third assembly in Beijing next month.

From skiing simulators that offer immersive experiences on dry surfaces to high-tech winter sports gear and resort tours through VR goggles, the third edition of the international exposition will thrill visitors with the newest winter sports equipment, services and events from Sept 19 to 22 at the China National Convention Center, organizers said on Aug 28.

The expo, which was launched in 2016, one year after Beijing won the bid for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, will focus on enlightening the host in key areas, such as the post-Olympics operation of facilities and promotion of mass winter sports participation this year through exhibits, presentations and brainstorming forums featuring international experts.

“The expo has built a bridge between China and international winter sports powers for us to facilitate preparations for the 2022 Olympics and to boost development of the winter sports sector through extensive exchanges,” said Gao Yunchao, deputy secretary-general of the Beijing Olympic City Development Association.

The association, established after the 2008 Summer Olympics, has been organizing the expo with partner International Data Group since 2016. This year’s event is expected to attract 500 brands, 24,000 exhibitors and 150,000 visitors, and will occupy 30,000 square meters.

Highlighting the expo’s forum session, a panel discussion with the mayors of 10 previous Olympics host cities will shed light on legacy and sustainability plans that Beijing could adopt to benefit its own post-Games operations.

“As a newcomer to winter sports, China is in desperate need of proven experience and expertise in developing winter sports sustainably beyond 2022,” Gao said. “I am sure the mayors’ discussion will give us a lot of insights.”

Some high-profile guests, including Juan Antonio Samaranch, a vice-president of the International Olympic Committee; International Ski Federation President Gian-Franco Kasper; and Karl Stoss, president of the Austrian Olympic Committee, will also share their understanding of Beijing’s organization for the 2022 Olympics, China’s winter sports prospects and business opportunities during the expo.

Since winning the Winter Olympics bid, China has rolled out a national program involving 300 million people in winter sports activities leading up to 2022, drawing attention from international powers in the field.

Austria, a snow sports power and a country of honor at the expo, is keen on helping China address winter sports development, especially in the operation of ski resorts, said Martin Glatz, commercial counselor at the Austrian embassy in Beijing.

“Of course the 2022 Olympics will give the whole winter sports sector in China a boost,” Glatz told China Daily on Aug 28. “The challenge will be not only developing the professionals but also making skiing popular with the public, so that the slopes and facilities built for the Olympics can be used by consumers after 2022.”

Under Beijing’s plan, all skiing events of the 2022 Winter Olympics will be held at newly built and existing mountain resorts in northwest Beijing’s Yanqing district and co-host city Zhangjiakou in Hebei province. Post-Olympics use of the facilities has been considered in construction and upgrade projects, according to the Beijing 2022 organizing committee.

Diversifying the business and service offerings of Olympic resorts for yearlong operation is also critical, Glatz added.

“Don’t just build resorts for winter but for all four seasons. Make sure you can also use the resorts and all the infrastructure with it during the rest of the year.”