Tourism bosses in Cambridge are going to try and encourage Chinese tourists to visit in smaller groups. With the sheer numbers of tourists Cambridge receives locals have started to complain of tourists blocking pavements.
Emma Thornton, of Visit Cambridge and Beyond, spoke to the BBC and said groups of 50 standing in front of landmarks such as King’s College were a “problem”. The tourism industry in Cambridge estimates the city receives around 7.6 million visitors per year, which is more visitors than some small countries get.
The Cambridge China Centre has even held a meeting on the issue, to help “enhance mutual communication and understanding” between the Chinese tourism industry and local businesses.
Doctor Paul Hanna, lecturer in sustainable tourism at the University of Surrey, said: “The case in Cambridge is an example of this ‘tipping point’ having been reached, where local residents no longer see tourists as income generators, but rather they experience irritation and anger toward the inbound tourists that are disrupting and fragmenting normal social life.”
Experts in tourism have said that increasing numbers of tourists from China have had an impact on the growth in the tourism sector. And, as Chinese tourists start to venture further outside of London, they are having a bigger impact in smaller towns and cities.
In 2017 a whopping 337,000 Chinese visitors came to the UK, and they spent more than £694 million between them.
But why are Chinese tourists are flooding into Cambridge? Lots of locals attribute it to the 20th century poet, Xu Zhimo.
Little known in Britain, his poem “Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again” is taught in every single primary school in China.
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