The proposal to limit the numbers of visitors to Cambridge by restricting tourist entry to parts of the city, while imposing entry charges to visit the museums and colleges has met with a mixed response in the city. John Hipkin, a former mayor of Cambridge and current councillor, proposed the scheme in response to increasing complaints by residents about city centre damage and general overcrowding.
The idea has, unsurprisingly, been given short shrift by those who are reliant on the tourist trade for their businesses, such as those running Cambridge hotels. The general manager of one such establishment dismissed the idea, pointing out that the popularity of the city as a destination for tourists was the backbone of Cambridge’s economy. Amongst one of the other types of temporary resident in the city – students – the notion has sparked a mixed response.
Some students have expressed enthusiasm for the idea, noting that it would reduce the current congestion problems caused by pedestrian tourists blocking the cycle lanes, while it would also leave more of city’s accommodation available for students. This latter issue is of particular relevance, as Cambridge, like other cities, has struggled to find sufficient housing to meet student demand. However others have criticised the plan, including Churchill College student Alison Davies:
“Tourists are an intrinsic part of Cambridge and stopping them from coming will only put people out of business. The council ought to embrace the city’s appeal and think of better ways to manage tourists rather than drive them away.”