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November 19, 2009

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Limit set for tourists to Chongming Island

SHANGHAI'S government will soon limit the number of visitors to wetlands on Chongming Island to protect the environment, government spokesman Chen Qiwei said yesterday.

A maximum of 10,000 visitors will be allowed on the Xisha wetland, Chen said. The Dongtan wetland will be off limits to large numbers until a planned parking lot is built.

People have started to worry about the ecological condition of the two wetlands since tourists began rushing onto the island via the new Changjiang tunnel-bridge.

The island has received more than 100,000 tourists each weekend this month. That's beyond capacity.

Tourists to the island have also complained about a lack of basic facilities. Some tourists could not find a seat in the restaurants at noon, or couldn't find a toilet.

Chen said two new bathrooms of 10 toilets in all have been built in the scenic areas on the island. And more are expected to be built in the scenic spots soon. More cleaning workers will be added, too.

The Shanghai Tourism Administration said the new measure could go into effect next week.

The administration also said yesterday it has seized some illegal tour agencies and tour guides on the island during an inspection on Tuesday.

Officials said they will order so-called black agencies and tour guides to stop business immediately.

The administration also reminded local tourists to use legal tour agencies and to buy travel accident insurance before setting off.


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