Tour groups banned at this tourist spot in Beijing

Beijing's famed but overcrowded tourist spot Nanluoguxiang is now closed to tourist groups. The narrow alleyway, known as hutong in Chinese, is still open to independent travellers, according to a notice from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Touri
PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Beijing's famed but overcrowded tourist spot Nanluoguxiang is now closed to tourist groups. The narrow alleyway, known as hutong in Chinese, is still open to independent travellers, according to a notice from the Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development.

The neighbourhood, with its mix of traditional Chinese architecture and trendy boutiques and restaurants, has become one of the city's most popular tourist draws in recent years. The new ruling, which took effect yesterday, is aimed at crowd control, reported Beijing Youth Daily.

The attraction should not have more than 17,000 visitors at any one time, but is often packed with 100,000 people during holidays, reported South China Morning Post.

Nanluoguxiang also cancelled an application to upgrade its tourism rating so as to control the influx of tourists to the area.

The 800m-long street, with buildings dating back to the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368), was established by Mongolian emperor Kublai Khan more than 600 years ago.

The Forbidden City, several kilometers south of Nanluoguxiang, capped its number of visitors at 80,000 a day last year to better protect the World Heritage site.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2016, with the headline 'Tour groups banned at this tourist spot in Beijing'. Print Edition | Subscribe