Oxford tour groups should walk single file, says councillor

Image caption,
Residents have complained about the number of tour groups in Oxford

Tour groups visiting Oxford should be asked to walk in single file or two abreast, a councillor has said.

Mary Clarkson described the city in the summer as "tourist hell" on Twitter, and wants tourism managed better.

"It doesn't ruin the tourist experience if you walk single file or just two abreast," Ms Clarkson said.

Frederick Laurie from Footprints Tours said it was easy to blame tourists for blocking paths but the problem was caused by a lack of space for visitors.

An average of 2.6m tourists visited Oxford each month in 2016, according to figures from Oxford City Council.

'Isn't the space'

Mr Laurie said: "More fundamental changes to the layout [of Oxford] need to be talked about rather than hoping people are going to be walking in single file."

He suggested there were too many bus stops on St Aldates near Christ Church college, a major tourist attraction in Oxford.

Many visitors access the college from St Aldates, and Mr Laurie said there "simply isn't the space" for tourists and bus users waiting for services on the street.

Image caption,
Christ Church college was used for filming in the Harry Potter movies and is one of Oxford's main tourist attractions

Ms Clarkson, a former Lord Mayor of Oxford, also highlighted the number of coaches on St Giles, a major route in Oxford city centre, as a safety risk.

She suggested coaches could be left further out with electric shuttle buses to the centre provided.

"We are not saying no tourists, we are just talking about simple ways of managing it," she said.

Ms Clarkson's suggestion that tourists walk in single file received a mixed response on Twitter.

Responding, @FilmSceneExtra wrote on Twitter "#Cambridge so needs this too".

Rich Heap, from Oxford, tweeted: "Look, the congestion can sometimes be irritating, but it's just the price of living in a great city that people want to visit."

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