World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2023 Opened, Forging Ahead In Post-Olympic Era

The World Winter Sports (Beijing) Expo 2023 (WWSE) kicked off with its Opening Ceremony & Main Conference on September 15, 2023, at the Shougang Park, Beijing. This three-day event revolved around the theme of "Forging Ahead". With exhibitions, forums, and supporting activities, the WWSE aims to drive the development of winter sports, facilitate international exchanges in the ice and snow industry, and continuously enhance the industry's value. The organizer behind this grand event is Asia Digital Group.

Highlighting internationalization, specialization, and popularization as usual, this edition of WWSE has further strengthened the integration of global ice and snow resources. Over 450 brands from more than 20 countries and regions, including Austria, Italy, Canada, New Zealand, France, Japan, and Slovenia, showcased their captivating ice and snow offerings.

The first day of the WWSE witnessed the presence of dignitaries who delivered speeches during the Opening Ceremony & Main Conference. Notable guests included Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Chang Wei, Secretary of the CPC Shijingshan District Committee of Beijing Municipality, Ivo Ferriani, Member of the IOC Executive Board, and President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), the SportAccord and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, among others.

IOC President Thomas Bach expressed that the Shougang Park, the venue for this WWSE, is one of the most iconic venues of the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games and an excellent example of the sustainable development and transformation of Olympic legacies. The hosting of this expo will take the legacy of the Beijing 2022 to new heights and provide an excellent opportunity to outline the development direction of winter sports in China and the world at large.

Secretary Chang Wei stated that Shijingshan has capitalized on the significant historical opportunity presented by the Beijing Olympic Winter Games. It has become the first demonstration district in China in terms of involving 300 million people in winter sports and as well a district that has embraced both the Olympic Summer and Winter Games. In the post-Winter Olympic era, Shijingshan will enhance its efforts to preserve the legacies of the Olympics and drive innovation in the ice and snow industry. By leveraging this remarkable event in the ice and snow industry, Shijingshan will continue to flourish as a fashionable emerging sports hub with focus on the ice and snow sector.

President Ivo Ferriani emphasized that the Beijing Olympic Winter Games have achieved remarkable results and it is crucial to advance the sustainable development of winter sports in the post-Winter Olympic era. Firstly, substantial investments are needed in popularizing ice and snow activities and nurturing the next generation of athletes in winter sports. Secondly, there should be enhanced funding for winter sports infrastructure. Additionally, a strong focus should be placed on environmental responsibility, including the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Furthermore, video keynote speeches were delivered by President of the International Luge Federation Einars Fogelis, President of the International Ski Federation Johan Eliasch, President of the International Ice Hockey Federation Luc Tardif, President of the World Curling Federation Beau Welling, and President of the International Biathlon Union Olle Dahlin.

In recent years, China and Italy have fostered fruitful exchange in their preparations for the Olympic Winter Games, resulting in notable achievements in sports collaboration, economic and trade cooperation, and academic exchanges centered around the Games. During the event, Valerio Malfatto, Founder of the Jam Session Ski Academy in Italy, Italian National Coach, and Celebrity with Over One Million Followers, delivered an inspiring speech titled "2022-2026 Olympic Winter Games, Strengthening the Bond Between China and Italy Through Sport". In his address, he introduced Italy's ski resorts and destinations and its advancements in skiing technology, presented its initiatives for the 2022-2026 period, and expressed his heartfelt desire for a deeper connection between China and Italy in terms of the Olympic Winter Games.

A summit dialogue on Green Development and Social Responsibilities of Winter Sports Industry was held on-site, with Zhang Li, Executive Vice President of Asia Digital Group, as the moderator. It involved such distinguished guests as Günther Platter, Former Austrian Interior Minister and Defence Minister and Former Governor of Tyrol, Yang Yang, First Gold Medallist for China at the Olympic Winter Games, Member of the Committee on Education, Science, Health and Sport of the National Committee of the CPPCC, and Vice President of the World Anti-Doping Agency, Gianpaolo Bruno, Chief Representative of the Beijing Office of the Italian Foreign Trade Commission and General Coordinator of China and Mongolia, Daniela Chiani, Director for Greater China of the Switzerland Tourism, Zhao Yinggang, Chairman of the China Sled Association, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Committee of the BOCOG, and Winner of the Chinese Olympic Gold Medal, and Tong Jian, World Champion in Figure Skating.

During the summit dialogue, Mr. Günther Platter emphasized the need for the ice and snow industry to prioritize green technology innovation. He urged for better education of citizens and encouraged public investments in green solutions to foster long-term sustainable development.

Ms. Yang Yang highlighted the potential of leveraging sports to foster a harmonious coexistence between people and nature, while promoting the widespread participation in winter sports. She emphasized the necessity for enterprises to drive the development of the ice and snow industry through a focus on the principles of green economy, green sports, and green ice and snow.

Chairman Zhao Yinggang shared important insights on the green development of the ice and snow industry. Firstly, it's necessary to maintain public participation in winter sports. Secondly, green standards for venue construction and operation need to be established following the Olympic Winter Games. Thirdly, China's economic transformation can be accelerated through winter sports competitions and ice and snow tourism. Fourthly, a favourable platform needs to be built for international and domestic industry exchange and high-tech cooperation in the field of environmentally-friendly ice and snow activities.

Chief Representative Gianpaolo Bruno presented key principles and directions of Italy's green development strategy. These include preserving natural resources, safeguarding the environment for future generations while unlocking economic potential, and promoting the use of renewable energy in the ice and snow industry.

Director Daniela Chiani outlined Switzerland's development proposal to advance the "Sustainable Switzerland" initiative within the ice and snow industry, which emphasizes striking a balance between environmental, social, and economic progress, and integrating all stakeholders towards sustainable tourism and winter sports.

World Champion Tong Jian emphasized that sustainable and green development in the ice and snow industry should prioritize people-oriented principles. This entails exploring opportunities for long-term involvement of non-athletic talents and enthusiasts, facilitating professional transitions for athletes after retirement, and harnessing the cultural empowerment of winter sports.

WWSE 2023 has continued to uphold the platform advantages of being the pioneering global expo in the ice and snow industry, offering continuous support for the development of winter sports. In this context, the Global Ice and Snow Industry Alliance has emerged as a key initiative. The establishment ceremony of the alliance was held at the Main Conference, signifying its commitment to connecting resources throughout the entire industry chain. The alliance aims to achieve linkage between various sectors and foster resource sharing. In addition, it serves as a crucial bridge between production, supply, and sales enterprises within the industry.

In the afternoon of September 15, a distinguished group of individuals were present and delivered speeches. Among them were Ge Jun, Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, Li Xianxia, Executive Deputy Mayor of Shijingshan District and Member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shijingshan District Committee of Beijing Municipality, Zheng Fang, Professor of Hundred Excellent Talents Project of Beijing Jiaotong University, and Chief Designer of the National Speed Skating Hall and the Curling Arena in the National Aquatics Center, Xing Xiaoyan, Professor and Doctoral Supervisor of Capital University of Physical Education and Sports, Lu Peng, CEO of Sunac China and President of BONSKI, and Michael Mayr, Sales Director of Italian TechnoAlpin Group in Asia, and Zhang Li, Executive Vice President of Asia Digital Group.

In his speech, Deputy Director Ge Jun highlighted the benefits of winter sports. He emphasized that these sports not only showcase the immense physical challenges they entail but also play a significant role in promoting healthy lifestyles and fostering social and cultural development. The cold resources in the ice and snow industry are being transformed into a thriving sector. As the world's first dual Olympic city, Beijing is committed to further enhancing the participation and satisfaction of its citizens in winter sports. Moreover, Beijing aims to maintain close collaboration with both domestic and international ice and snow enterprises and institutions in order to stimulate the growth of ice and snow tourism as well as facilitate cultural exchange initiatives.

Executive Deputy Mayor Li Xianxia of Shijingshan District delivered a comprehensive introduction on the consistent progress achieved in the ice and snow industry and the consequential enhancement of regional economic growth within the dual Olympic district. He elaborated on several key aspects, including the development of iconic urban landmarks, the pattern of industrial openness, innovation within the ice and snow industry, and the investment environment. He emphasized the imperative utilization of the legacies left by the Olympic Winter Games in Shijingshan, stressing that the present moment presents a favourable opportunity for economic transformation. Furthermore, he highlighted limitless opportunities existing in the fertile land of West Beijing. He extended a call to action, urging global industry leaders to collaborate in shaping a promising future beyond the Olympic Winter Games, working hand in hand towards this shared goal.

In his keynote speech titled "Low Carbon Ice and Snow Venues in Technology-Empowered Olympic Winter Games", Prof. Zheng Fang shared valuable insights into the construction and operation of ice and snow venues. From a professional standpoint, he provided a series of advanced examples that demonstrate the implementation of low-carbon concepts in the construction and subsequent operation of venues for the Beijing 2022. The focus on hosting carbon-neutral Games has led to significant changes in Beijing's urban construction and development philosophy. As winter sports continue to develop, ice and snow venues are playing a crucial role in the "dual carbon" goal. They have taken on an important mission to contribute to reducing carbon emissions and promoting sustainability. It is hoped that the successful demonstration of low-carbon cities and future smart cities during the Beijing 2022 will offer valuable assistance and inspiration for sustainable urban construction in the post-Winter Olympic period as well as the advancement of environmentally friendly and green technologies for ice and snow venues.

Prof. Xing Xiaoyan delivered a keynote speech titled "Beijing Olympic Winter Games and Participation of College Student Volunteers in Winter Sports". Drawing upon relevant research data, she elucidated the positive influenceof the Games on the sports engagement and health of Chinese college students. The hosting of the Games has yielded remarkable improvement in the health of college students, showcasing a notable degree of sustainability. Moreover, the Games have exerted a profound promoting effect on non-sports college student volunteers, demonstrating their potential to inspire a greater engagement in winter sports. The atmosphere during the volunteer service period of the Games has attracted certain groups to embrace and actively participate in winter sports.

President Lu Peng of BONSKI delivered an exceptional speech around "Promoting the Popularization of Skiing in China and the High-Quality Development of the Industry". BONSKI, through its brand operation, has successfully brought skiing to urban areas and fostered the growth of the industry. Its vision is to extend ski resorts from indoor facilities to outdoor vacation destinations, while leveraging education and competitions to drive the widespread adoption of skiing. This endeavour aims to facilitate a profound integration of ice and snow activities within the Chinese society. A high-quality skiing lifestyle not only demonstrates the spirit of progress but also gives rise to new aspirations for a better life.

Sales Director Michael Mayr of Italian TechnoAlpin Group in Asia delivered a wonderful speech on "Innovation in Ice and Snow Equipment Technology Facilitating Industry Development". The skiing industry in China holds immense growth potential, and TechnoAlpin, as an equipment provider, is dedicated to delivering top-notch snow quality, ensuring extended availability duration, promoting environmentally friendly and efficient snowmaking systems, as well as aiding ski resorts in reducing costs and operational expenses. TechnoAlpin employs software to connect all its systems, enabling comprehensive automated teaching management and maximizing the efficiency of ski resort operations.

China's ice and snow economy is currently experiencing a remarkable period of growth, driven by the strategic objective of involving 300 million individuals in winter sports. Executive Vice President Zhang Li of Asia Digital Group released the "Report on the Development of China's Ice and Snow Industry (2023)" during the event. The report outlines the key developments and changes within the ice and snow industry during 2022. A notable development is the substantial growth of ice and snow tourism, which can be attributed to the increasing number of consumers showing interest in winter activities. In addition, the ice and snow manufacturing industry has experienced rapid growth, thanks to favourable policies. Looking ahead to 2023, the report identifies key areas for high growth in the industry, including ice and snow consumption, digital ice and snow technologies, and cross-border integration.

In the concluding segment of the Main Conference, Prof. Xing Xiaoyan led a roundtable discussion on the Socioeconomic Effects of Winter Sports. Esteemed guests participating in the discussion included Zhang Guihai, Director of Heilongjiang Province Ice and Snow Industry Research Institute, and Professor and Doctoral Supervisor at Harbin Sport University, Wang Bingyu, World Champion in Curling, Xiong Xiaojie, Chairman of Times Culture & Tourism, Author of "Xiong Xiaojie Talks About Culture and Tourism", and Consultant to the Advertising Department of CCTV, and Peng Yuanyuan, Director of People's Winter Sports and People's Sports at People's Daily Online.

During the discussion, Prof. Zhang Guihai emphasized that Heilongjiang Province has taken the lead in formulating a post-Winter Olympics development plan for the ice and snow industry. He expressed his belief that the ice and snow industry will serve as a new driving force for the revitalization of the ice and snow economy in Heilongjiang, as well as for Northeast China as a whole, following the conclusion of the Games. Curling World Champion Wang Bingyu underlined the social and diplomatic significance of sports. She highlighted that sports, particularly winter sports, provide an excellent platform for young people to foster friendships and facilitate exchanges between different countries and ethnic groups.

Chairman Xiong Xiaojie of Times Culture & Tourism provided analysis on the tourism impacts of ice and snow from two perspectives: ice and snow sports, and ice and snow lifestyle. He highlighted the growing influence of sports such as skiing and skating, particularly among young people, which has ignited social media and sparked a surge in winter sports participation. Additionally, the experiences, emotions, visual appeal, and interactive nature associated with ice and snow activities are contributing to the development of a new lifestyle and a new scene within the realm of culture and tourism. Consequently, both winter sports and the ice and snow lifestyle are poised to become significant catalysts for the development of culture and tourism.

Director Peng Yuanyuan shared reports on the technology-empowered Olympic Winter Games, emphasizing the fusion of winter sports and social interaction. This harmonious blend effectively mirrors the character of the people, enabling the public to actively participate in these activities and experience a sense of joy, which is considered a fundamental need of social interaction.

During the Opening Ceremony, a group of officials and leaders visited the exhibition and spoke highly of the preparations. Among the attendees were Chang Wei, Secretary of the CPC Shijingshan District Committee of Beijing Municipality, Li Xin, Mayor of Shijingshan District and Deputy Secretary of the CPC Shijingshan District Committee of Beijing Municipality, Wang Zhiyong, Deputy Mayor of Shijingshan District, Shi Fenghua, Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, Ge Jun, Deputy Director of the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Sports, Ivo Ferriani, Member of the IOC Executive Board, and President of the Association of International Olympic Winter Sports Federations (AIOWF), the SportAccord and the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation, and Zhao Yinggang, Chairman of the China Sled Association, Deputy Director of the Sustainable Development Committee of the BOCOG, and Winner of the Chinese Olympic Gold Medal. They mainly visited the booths for Austria, Italy, TechnoAlpin Group, Yanqing District, Yulin City, Shijingshan District, and BONSKI. Those accompanying them were President Zhu Dongfang and Executive Vice President Zhang Li of Asia Digital Group, among others.

Popularizing Winter Sports Through Exhibitions to Facilitate the Development of the Ice and Snow Industry

This WWSE boasts a vast exhibition area spanning nearly 20,000 square meters. It has successfully attracted both domestic and international exhibitors, including international winter sports federations, event venues, ice and snow countries, winter sports facilities, equipment brands, and winter sports destinations. This diverse array of exhibitors ensures that visitors can enjoy a wide range of displays and fresh experience.

The Pavilion for Ice and Snow Countries showcased a splendid collection of ice and snow powers, international winter sports federations, government organizations, event venues, leading winter sports manufacturers, renowned clothing brands, ski resorts, and training systems. Countries like Italy, Austria, and other influential players in the field of ice and snow presented their abundant offerings of ice and snow products and deep-rooted ice and snow culture through their well-established brands. This provides visitors with a remarkable opportunity to intimately experience the allure of these ice and snow powerhouses.

The Winter & Alpine Technology exhibition area displayed a wide range of large hardware equipment, including snowmobiles, cableways, magic carpets, snowmakers, snow groomers, and snowplows. It also featured renowned winter sports equipment, indoor ice and snow technology, roller skating and dry skiing equipment, clothing brands, and ice and snow incubation. TechnoAlpin Group presented equipment specifically designed for large-scale ice and snow events, creating captivating snow drift scenes that demonstrated their impressive technical prowess and innovative technologies.

The Pavilion for Ice and Snow Provinces and Cities served as a comprehensive platform for showcasing China's winter sports provinces and cities, as well as highlighting the robust ice and snow economy. Booths representing Yanqing, Shijingshan, Shougang, and Yulin offered a display of abundant ice and snow resources and the latest accomplishments in this sector. The Yanqing booth presented venue construction and event planning in the post-Winter Olympic era. Besides, exceptional enterprises from Yanqing showcased cutting-edge sports technologies. At the Shougang booth, visitors experienced innovative ice and snow consumption scenarios that emphasized the sustainable utilization of Olympic Winter Games legacies. Cold resources within the ice and snow industry have been transformed into a thriving sector. The Yulin booth, featuring renowned enterprises like Seven Sheep and Sheep Leader, showcased the wool and cashmere industry with local characteristics.

The Winter Tourism Destinations exhibition area showcased a wide range of domestic and international ski resorts, holiday resorts, signature towns, travel agencies, clubs, ice and snow events, and winter tourism resources. It presented a diverse landscape of ice and snow cities, offering rich experience of ice and snow culture and tourism. Among them, BONSKI displayed the latest ice and snow service scenarios and innovative models, including indoor and outdoor skiing and youth ice and snow campsites. Heilongjiang Ice and Snow showed its own resource advantages by presenting high-quality ice and snow tourism products and ice and snow consumption scenarios with various highlights. Yulan Sports Base introduced exciting sports and new experiences such as all-terrain vehicles, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, electric surfboarding, and rescue rafting.

The Personal Winter Sports Equipment exhibition area featured a wide range of winter sports apparel and equipment, protective wearable devices, winter sports accessories, and intelligent hardware. Gee Cool introduced a comprehensive service platform that covers 17 popular sports including skiing, skateboarding, cycling, and surfing. It provides users with essential functions such as artificial intelligence sports assistants and venue recommendations. Senlinxue showcased its notable accomplishments in ski resort design, equipment supply, and the operation and management of scenic areas.

The Ice and Snow Carnival offered a wide array of ice and snow events, themed displays, and unique experiential activities, providing viewers with an up-close experience of the charm of winter sports and ice and snow culture. The event brought together ice and snow brands, enthusiasts, and models to create a spectacular ice and snow fashion feast. Energetic models showcased innovative and captivating winter sports clothing, featuring the latest designs from renowned domestic and international ice and snow brands such as WILDSNOW, Konquer, PROPRO Sports, and HEE KA LEE. Yulin presented an exclusive themed show featuring eight outstanding enterprises, captivating a large number of stop-and-watch spectators.

Enhancing the Industry's Development Through Forums to Deliver Better Results in the Post-Winter Olympic Era

This year WWSE has organized the Olympic City Development Forum, the International Sports, Culture, and Tourism Development Industry Forum, the International Ice and Snow Industry Development Forum, and the Personal Sports Equipment Industry Forum. These four sub-forums work in tandem with the Main Conference/Forum, effectively promoting the integration and high-quality advancement of the sports industry.

In addition to exhibitions and forums, this WWSE remains committed to organizing a diverse range of activities in different formats, focusing on two main objectives: advancing the ice and snow industry and popularizing winter sports. Among these activities were the Winter Sports Industry TOP Awards Selection, the Canada Winter Sports Promotion Conference, the Promotion Conference for Enterprises and New Products, the Signing Ceremony for Strategic Cooperation at the WWSE, the JSSA Skiing Seminar and the Signing Ceremony for Strategic Cooperation in Winter Sports Tourism. By organizing these diverse activities, the WWSE provides a valuable platform for the development of the sports industry in the post-Winter Olympics era to further facilitate mutual benefits in global sports services trade.

The Cloud WWSE, equipped with modern information technology, will persist in its endeavours. Throughout 2023, a series of online events, including Online Exhibitions, Online Forums, Online Activities, and Online Docking, will be organized. These initiatives aim to facilitate the signing and implementation of key projects within the ice and snow industry while establishing an ongoing exchange platform for the WWSE.

Being the pioneering expo in the global ice and snow industry, WWSE 2023 has further enhanced communication and cooperation within the sector. It has played a crucial role in leading the exploration of the ice and snow industry, innovating exchange and cooperation models, creating unique ice and snow consumption scenarios, and continuously invigorating the vitality of the industry. Furthermore, as an essential economic legacy of the Olympics, its successful hosting will accelerate the transformation and development of Shijingshan District in the post-Winter Olympic era. It will facilitate the establishment of an economic circle for the ice and snow industry, further enhancing the reputation of Shijingshan as a dual Olympic district.

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