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Tourists at Athens’ Acropolis Deceived by “Skip the Line” Ads

overtourism. tourists flood the acropolis of athens
Visitors are warned against “Skip the line” ads which claim to be providing shortcuts for faster access to the Acropolis of Athens. Credit: Matías Callone CC2 / Flickr

The Hellenic Organization of Cultural Resources Development on Saturday warned tourists against misleading “Skip the line” ads which claim to be providing shortcuts for faster access to the Acropolis of Athens.

There is no ticket that comes with a “skip the line” service, a statement read.

“Such service cannot be applied to the archaeological site of the Acropolis, due to the particular geomorphology of the hill and the nature of the monument. Even if a visitor manages to bypass the wait at the entrance, they will soon encounter a queue at the Propylaea gateway, where the entrance width is reduced. Therefore, any advertisement for a “skip the line” service is deceptive to the public,” it pointed out.

Visitors were reminded that the only valid website for purchasing tickets to access the Acropolis of Athens is the one operated by Hellenic Heritage e-ticket,

Acropolis of Athens faced with unprecedented overcrowding

The emblematic Acropolis of Athens, with its world-famous temples built in the 5th century B.C., has been faced with unprecedented overcrowding in recent months, as visits in June and early July alone increased by 80% compared to 2019, partly due to the sharp increase in the numbers of cruiseships arriving in Piraeus.

Visitors often have to wait for up to 45 minutes in the queue, under the hot summer sun.

In early July, the Ministry of Culture announced a series of measures in the attempt to curb the overcrowding. These included the introduction of time slots and E-ticketing for access to the site. Fast-lane entry points were also to be introduced for organized tourist groups.

Archaeologists and tourist guides had been pleading for the implementation of measures against overcrowding for at least five years, according to their representatives.

Visitor zones fully implemented in April 2024

In a recent meeting with representatives of cultural institutions and tourism professionals, the Minister of Culture and Sports, Lina Mendoni, said that the number of visitors to the Acropolis of Athens needs to be limited to 21,000 per day, to protect the monument.

A record 23,000 visitors per day has been observed thus far.

According to the planning for the implementation of visitor zones, there will be four one-hour time slots for 8,000 visitors between 8.00 a.m. and noon, and eight more one-hour time slots for 13,000 visitors from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m..

The pilot implementation of the new measures will start most probably from September 1, 2023. The visitor zones scheme is then expected to be rolled out by April 1, 2024, after the pilot implementation has been assessed.

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