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Residents told to delay visits to crowded tourist spots in Xujiahui
By Hu Min

RESIDENTS were advised to delay visits to Xujiahui Yuan this weekend as the area has been overcrowded since it was named a national 4A tourism attraction last week, city tourism authorities said yesterday.

Xu Lingzhi, director of the tourism promotion division of the Xuhui Tourism Bureau, said they are adding volunteer teams to help direct visitors to less popular scenic spots on weekends and will add more signs for "Xujiahui Yuan," or the origin of Xujiahui, which is a 2.4-square-kilometer zone that includes sites such as Xujiahui Cathedral and Xujiahui Bibliotheca.

Authorities have put a cap on the number of free tickets distributed at the Xujiahui tourist center every day at 2,000, after nearly 7,000 tickets were handed out on Tuesday.

"The free tickets will be distributed in the long term, therefore, visitors do not need to worry and there is no need to visit all spots in one day," Xu said.

The tickets allow people to visit nine attractions including the Cathedral and Xujiahui Bibliotheca, which was established in 1847 and now houses a big collection of old foreign books.

After the area received the national 4A rating, the country's second highest, many people flocked to Xujiahui to see the sites, but failed to get tickets.

Zhang Xiaomei, who came from suburban Jinshan District, said she only got a ticket to Qian Xuesen Library and was told to come back the next day.

"It's a pity," she said.

Long queues were seen at Xujiahui Cathedral, one of the most popular spots in the area.

Most tourists are middle-aged or senior citizens in Shanghai, authorities said.

Xu said some people who got tickets did not visit the sites as there is no date marked on the tickets. They picked up the tickets because they were worried they may not get them later after learning about the long queues.

Some residents said they think there are few places in the city to explore.

"I think there are not enough fun scenic spots in Shanghai," said retiree Wang Zhigang.

Resident Xu Yuting said she did not realize there were so many places worth visiting in Xujiahui as she usually went there to shop.

The bureau is working on adding signs for each attraction after some people complained they were difficult to find, the tourism bureau's Xu said.

Tourists can now reserve tickets at the English website www.xjh.sh.cn/home.

Xujiahui is named after Xu Guangqi, one of the country's greatest scientists. His tomb, the Former Site of Xuhui Public School and Tushanwan Museum are some recommended spots to check out as they have fewer visitors, Xu said.

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