France-Headquartered Resort Banking On Beijing Hosting Winter Olympics
China unveils mascots for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games during a launch ceremony at the Shougang Ice Hockey Arena in Beijing, China September 17, 2019.

(Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee)

Though Chinese-owned holiday resort Club Med with headquarters in France, a subsidiary of China's Fosun Tourism Group, will open a number of beach and ski resorts over the next few years, the company is banking on China's goal of becoming a skiing powerhouse just in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics which Beijing will host.

China's goal will have skiing getting developed, promoted and included in the country's tourism system that will help the company with its growing network of mountain ski resorts.

When the mainland won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, President Xi Jinping expressed his plan of having 300 million Chinese snow enthusiasts on the slopes for the showcase.

Such announcement is a golden opportunity as Sebastien Portes, strategic director for Asian mountain at Club Med, pointed out.

Club Med has 50 beach resorts and 20 mountain ski resorts but because of the global expansion and being more profitable, there will be an equal number of ski and beach resorts over the next few years.

Skiing patrons stay at an average of seven days for every skiing holiday compared to the 4.5 number of the day stays at Club Med's beach resorts.

Of the tourism industry in China, Portes commented, "It's a very healthy business," adding that it is critical to accelerating the company's development of the ski mountain industry at this time.

Snow Forecast, a ski news website, said that there are 30 indoor snow centers in China, topping the world's list.

Just this June, the second-largest indoor ski done opened in Guangzhou.

Then, a month later, the world's largest indoor ski resort that cost 40 billion RMB ($6.3 billion) and which can accommodate 3,000 people opened in the northern Chinese city of Harbin.

Even in August 2018, KOP Properties of Singapore announced that it will build the world's largest indoor ski facility in Shanghai to be finished in 2022.

Meanwhile, Fosun is working with French ski resort operator Compagne des Alpes to have its own large indoor ski resort, estimated to be 2.4 billion yuan (US$335.7 million) near Shanghai.

Helping the Chinese government meet its target number of skiers, Club Med has launched a program of French-style ski instruction at China's ski schools.

Club Med and Fosun are looking into developing ski simulators.

With the cost of developing a luxury ski resort reaching about US$130 million, to fund for the expansion, Club Med has a property leaseback system in which properties are sold to developers and then leased back to Club Med.

Club Med's revenue increased 5 percent in the first half of 2019, amounting to 6.9 billion yuan, compared with that of 2018 as stated in Fosun's 2019 interim report.

Its ski business is just under a quarter of its revenue.