Tourist spot in Beijing experiences overcrowding after Xi visit

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 11:49am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 12:14pm

Tourists swarmed to Nanluoguxiang on Saturday, a week after President Xi Jinping’s surprise visit to the hutong, according to Beijing Times, a major daily newspaper.

Despite the rain, shopkeepers in Beijing’s Nanluoguxiang are extending opening hours to accommodate eager visitors.

“We saw it on the news, chairman Xi came to the 29th and 30th courtyard, so we came to see what it looks like,” said a couple surnamed Yang from Hebei. The Yangs, who came to Beijing for a tour, did not plan on visiting the hutong before Xi showed up last week.

Watch: Xi Jinping's surprise visit to a popular Beijing tourist zone last week

Last Tuesday, Xi braved the smog, without a face mask, to walk along one of Beijing’s most well-known streets. He spoke to local people and visited two of their homes.

The visit came two months after a surprise appearance at a steamed bun restaurant turned the place into an instant tourist attraction.

On Saturday night, the streets of Nanluoguxiang in Beijing’s Dongcheng district were supervised by two or three traffic control officers and bustled with tourists who lined up outside snack bars and took photographs of the two courtyards Xi visited.

A resident of the hutong surnamed Wei said Xi’s surprise rendezvous showed humility.

“As chairman, he should be visiting fancy courtyards. But these courtyards were very ordinary, lived by ordinary people, he really tried to walk among us”, Wei said.