Jilin province will continue to promote sustainable development and boost local tourism by opening its doors to winter sports, the top official of the province said on Tuesday.
"Jilin holds a great wealth of natural resources, which should be highly valued," said Bayanqolu, Party chief of Jilin province.
He said the ecology as well as the ice and snow in Jilin will benefit local people and the province's future development over the long term.
The forestry industry in Jilin had a total production value of nearly 140 billion yuan ($19.9 billion) last year.
Currently, the east part of the province has forest coverage of 78 percent, while the Changbaishan National Nature Reserve has coverage of about 98 percent.
Commercial logging has been prohibited within the province in recent years, according to Bayanqolu, and the local government has encouraged the development of sectors, including natural underground springs and traditional Chinese herbs.
Since the Northeast China Tiger and Leopard National Park opened as one of China's first 10 national parks in 2017, the number of Siberian tigers in the park area has increased from seven to 27, while Amur leopards grew from three to 42, he said.
"The success of wildlife protection can be proved from the settlement of wild animals. The increase of those endangered animals indicated the improvement of the local ecological system," Bayanqolu said.
Moreover, a massive construction plan connecting the province's major rivers and lakes was launched in 2013, helping to recover wetlands covering about 3,500 square kilometers.
"Ecological protection and the scientific use of natural resources are both important. We will further promote the green industry in Jilin and achieve harmonious development between people and nature," Bayanqolu said.
Jilin will also take advantage of its location and promote tourism for winter sports, according to Jing Junhai, governor of the province.
Statistics from the Jilin Department of Culture and Tourism showed that the province received nearly 84 million tourists between November and March. Tourism revenue during the period hit 170 billion yuan, a surge of 20 percent year-on-year.
Three of its biggest ski resorts - Vanke Songhua Lake Resort, Beidahu Ski Resort and Changbaishan International Ski Resort - were ranked the top three most popular ski resorts in the country.
In February, Beishan Mountain Ski Resort - the first cross-country ski resort that can be used during all four seasons in Asia - was undergoing trial runs.
"Jilin has long been a strong player in China's winter sports scene due to its high-quality facilities and rich snow and ice resources. The 2022 Winter Olympics will boost winter sports in China, which is a great opportunity for us," Jing said.