Cambridge urges guides to limit group sizes

Tourism bosses in Cambridge are looking at developing a new strategy to encourage Chinese tourists to visit in smaller groups.

Emma Thornton, chief executive of Visit Cambridge and Beyond, told the BBC that “many visitors, particularly those from China, arrive in large groups, sometimes up to 50 at a time”.

She said: “If you have 50 people standing in front of King’s College at any one time, it’s a problem.”

The tourist body is working with Cambridge city council to try to improve this situation for tourists and residents, with Visit Cambridge and Beyond looking to encourage official guides to cut down the size of large groups and to reduce “any negative impact on the city”.

The council said it is also working to tackle coach congestion in the city’s narrow streets.

Jinzhao Li, the director of Cambridge China Centre, told the BBC that Chinese tourists are drawn to the city thanks to a poem by former Cambridge University student Xu Zhimo.

Taking Leave of Cambridge Again, written in the 1920s, was a “very beautiful romantic poem”, she said.

“Everyone in China has heard of this poem,” she explained.