Starting on September 4, a limited number of daily visitors will be permitted to enter Greece’s historic monument of the Acropolis, as the respective authorities try to put a strap on mass tourism.
According to Lina Mendoni, the Culture Minister, daily visitors to the Athens monument will be limited to 20,000 visitors per day, while entry will be organised into time zones starting from 8 am until 8 pm.
This initiative is part of a pilot programme, which is expected to be fully implemented and on a permanent basis starting on April 1, 2024, across all archaeological sites that use electronic tickets.
“There is a very high demand and it is completely normal and understandable. The Acropolis… is a world symbol. Therefore, anyone who comes to Athens wants to visit it,” Mendoni said.
She also added that despite tourism being beneficial for the country’s economy, it is crucial “to see how over-tourism will not damage the monument.”
The national plan to implement an entry system that limits the time daily visitors can enter the monument, as well as the number of tourists that are allowed in this site, follows cases of mass tourism as 22,000 to 23,000 visitors were recorded at Acropolis in one day alone.
In general, nearly half of visitors visit the site between morning and noon (8 am to 12 pm), especially for groups of more than ten people.
The new plan foresees that visitor numbers will be limited by the hour, with some visitors being permitted to enter from 8 am to 9 am. Regardless, visits during some hours will be more crowded than others. Organised groups usually visit the site for around 45 minutes, while individual visitors more often take longer during their visit – around an hour and a half. However, Mendoni says that visitors will not be limited on how much time they spent at the site.
The Mediterranean country is working to develop all-year around tourism, so travellers are able to visit Greece during the winter months when tourism numbers are lower and temperatures are also cooler.
Acropolis, which was built during the fifth century is the most visited historical monument in Greece, and the authorities have worked to make it more accessible, especially for disabled tourists. Amid other bids to make it easier for this category of visitors to access the monument, an elevator has also been installed.
Other attempts have also been made to make Greek tourism more inclusive, as to date 287 beaches in Greece have been made fully accessible for people with mobility disabilities.