Cancel Preloader

Greece’s Acropolis begins ticketing system to combat overtourism

The ancient Acropolis is trying a contemporary solution to its overtourism problem. On Monday, the Greek government implemented a new timed ticketing system for the UNESCO World Heritage site, along with a visitor cap of 20,000 per day.

The new “Visitor Zones” program requires visitors to book a time slot through its online platform. On arrival, visitors will scan a QR code on their ticket and be allowed to enter during their scheduled window.

Ticket costs remain the same as before the new system began: 20 euros (about $21) for general admission, 10 euros (about $11) for non-E.U. citizens from 6 to 25 years old and E.U. seniors over 65. Tickets are free for anyone under 5, and E.U. citizens up to 25 years old.

According to the e-ticketing website, visitors should arrive at the entrance 30 minutes before their scheduled time slot. Ticketed customers will be allowed to enter 15 minutes ahead of their scheduled time and up to 15 minutes after it (with the exception of the last time slot of the day, which doesn’t allow entrance after your scheduled time).

Ioannis Giannakakis, CEO and co-founder 0f Athens Walking Tours, said the system is “simple and well-designed,” but says there were challenges on the first day at the Acropolis. People arrived to the site unaware of the change, holding tickets they purchased in advance from other websites, he said.

8 less-crowded places to appreciate art, history and nature

Giannakakis says the Greek tourism industry has been discussing solutions to overtourism concerns for years. He says talks of limiting visitors to the Acropolis started before the pandemic but were put on hold when tourism plunged in 2020.

The World Travel & Tourism Council expects Greece to return to pre-pandemic levels this year. Lina Mendoni, the culture minister of Greece, said recently that visits to the Acropolis in June and early July had increased 80 percent compared to the same time period in 2019. The site also closed to visitors this summer during sweltering heat.

Konstantinos Polatidis, branding director of the Apollo Palm Hotel in Athens, hopes the new ticketing system will help promote responsible tourism and maybe encourage travelers to explore the city off the beaten path.

“We’ve seen extraordinary tourism demand this summer, and it’s actually extending into September and October as well,” Polatidis said in an email. “We’re nearly fully booked through October, and tourism throughout the city continues to surge.”

This airline is offering a kid-free zone — for a fee

The Acropolis is one of several European tourist sites instituting timed tickets or capping visitors in an effort to stem crowds. Others include the Louvre in Paris and the Pantheon in Rome.

The Acropolis Museum, which is near the ruins, already used the timed ticketing system to control its visitor numbers, and Giannakakis says more Greek sites are expected to implement them over the next few years.


Related post