September 27, 2023

Athens News

News in English from Greece

Tourists literally “besieged” the Athenian Acropolis

Thousands of tourists “besiege” the Athenian Acropolis every day, although the peak of the tourist season has not yet arrived, standing for hours in huge queues. However, the problem is not the number of tourists, but the stupid organization of the most famous and expensive archaeological site in Greece.

Athens attracts millions of tourists and the first archaeological site that everyone rushes to see is Acropoliswhich has been on the World Heritage List since 1987. These days, when the tourist flow peaks in anticipation of summer, the Acropolis is characterized by increased popularity, as a result of which visitors experience unimaginable inconvenience, standing for hours in long queues, putting their health and physical integrity at risk, and the archaeological site is at risk of “damage”, tagged news site in their respective report.

At the beginning of the week, one of the tourist guides complained to the state broadcaster ERT about the current situation and suggested at least tourist groups from cruise ships or tour operators to postpone the visit to the Acropolis in the afternoon.

Calls for developing a tourism management plan

Kriton Piperas, president of the Association of Certified Guides, told that urgent action is needed to manage the hordes of tourists at the Sacred Rock. “Over the past month, the overcrowding of the Acropolis has been getting worse and there are intense protests every day. A solution must be found immediately,” he said, stressing that people have to wait more than an hour to get inside.

“Before the start of the season, there is enormous pressure on the historical monument. The queues reach Dionysios Areopagite Street. Currently, tourists have to wait an hour in line to enter the Acropolis, and another hour is required to get from the Propylaea to the Parthenon. It is not only a matter of inconvenience “, Piperas said, calling on the relevant authorities and departments to introduce a tourism management plan.

The Association of Certified Guides has proposed changing the way out of the Acropolis. “The problem and overcrowding is created because in the Propylaea there is a rather narrow staircase leading both to the descent and the ascent. Therefore, with a large influx of tourists, crowding and crowding is created there. There must be an exit from the east side, where the old museum is located, with a staircase, which will take tourists down to the gate that already exists, and from there they can go to Plaka. That would be a real lifesaver,” Piperas said.

Another issue pointed out by the tour guides association is “skip the line” for e-ticketers, which does not apply to the Acropolis. “They have to stand in endless lines with those who do not have a ticket. The same problem applies to groups that have a specific tour time. As a result, scandals and protests caused by this are becoming a daily occurrence,” said the president of the Association of Certified Guides.

Tourists versus locals

Especially in the morning hours, the influx of tourists is huge: huge buses that take them to the historical monument block the main roads in the center of Athens, lining up in dozens in areas near the Acropolis, which leads to traffic jams, and the locals who go to work run out of patience . During the four years that Mitsotakis’s conservative government was in power, officials say they paid great attention to the so-called “heavy industry” of the country, that is, tourism.

However, it is not enough to simply promote the development of hotels and Airbnb (in this case, the task was not to interfere, which the authorities coped with 5 points) and be proud of the millions of visitors who come to the country. It is necessary to see the bigger picture: to protect your country, its monuments, its citizens and its visitors. Moreover, information about the inability of the authorities to ensure order at the most expensive and popular tourist site in Greece has an extremely negative effect on the reputation of the country as a whole.

Greece may currently have an interim government in place until a repeat general election on June 25, but the cabinet, including the minister of culture, was sworn in earlier today. The time of urgent measures is indeed a challenge.

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