In a bid to reduce overcrowding at the Acropolis, Greece will introduce time slots and E-ticketing (electronic tickets). The plans also include measures to provide shade and water for tourists waiting in long lines to see the historic site.
With the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and the return of tourists to the country, the renowned ancient site has witnessed a remarkable surge in visitors.
The number of tourists visiting the site is expected to exceed 30 million, surpassing the country’s population by more than threefold.
Introduction of time slots and e-tickets to manage crowds at Acropolis
Currently, approximately 17,000 people per day are exploring the site, captivated by the majestic hill and the world-renowned Parthenon. These numbers continue to increase as a heat wave approaches, with temperatures reaching up to 104 degrees, causing the rocks to scorch under the blazing sun.
Sometimes, in the rush to beat the long lines, tourists have been known to cause a commotion, necessitating the intervention of security present at the site. The authorities are likely hoping that the new measures will reduce the number of such incidents.
The new measures include a time-slot system, fast-lane entry points for organized tourist groups, and electronic ticketing. These steps, according to officials, are expected to effectively mitigate visitor congestion and alleviate the issues caused by overcrowding.
Overcrowding and overtourism
The implementation of the new policies aims to alleviate the issue of long queues, which has been aggravated by the arrival of massive cruise ships that disembark thousands of passengers at the port of Piraeus, the gateway to the Greek capital.
“In the past, these cruise ships had the capacity to carry a few thousand, the population of a large village,” said Lysandros Tsilidis, the president of the Federation of Hellenic Associations of Tourist and Travel Agencies.
“Now the vessels are so big you’ve got the size of a small state on board and at least 30% of all of those passengers will have pre-purchased tickets to visit the Acropolis,” he continued.
The Greek economy benefits tremendously from tourism which is projected to increase this year. However, large numbers of visitors can also place a strain on infrastructure and cause damage to valuable historical and ecological sites.
Overtourism has become a high-profile issue in Greece. In November last year, for example, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis spoke at length about the perils of overtourism at the UNESCO World Heritage Convention.