Finding ways to avoid the crowds while traveling is getting tougher unless you decide to go to an off-path destination. Travel numbers are soaring this year, so if you choose to go to a popular place, you are not alone.
Europe is absolutely thriving with tourists, with some countries breaking tourism records.
Croatia has recently had its own set of issues with over-tourism, and now Greece is dealing with the same problem.
Athens, in particular, is home to one of the most popular sites in the country. Travelers come far and wide by land, sea, and air to see it for themselves.
Due to overcrowding, new rules are being implemented at The Acropolis. Here is what travelers should know before visiting:
What Is The Acropolis?
According to The Guardian, over 17,000 tourists visit the Acropolis each day. It is the number one tourist attraction in all of Greece.
What the Statue of Liberty is to New York City’s skyline, the Acropolis is to Athens’ scenic cityscape.
The word “acropolis” loosely translates to “high city” in Greek, and once you see it, you will understand the name.
Set on a vast hilltop overlooking the sprawling capital of Greece is one of the country’s important historic structures that is key to understanding Greek history.
Upon the hilltop, visitors will also discover temples, including another famous site, the Parthenon.
However, it is the Acropolis that is a sight to behold and very well preserved, considering it dates back 25 centuries. It has stood the test of time and survived natural disasters, vandalism, and bombardment.
As impressive as that may be, it has really only been open to tourism for approximately 200 years. So why now is it that new rules are being put in place?
It All Started With COVID…
Like many places across the globe, there were extreme shutdowns during the pandemic. But that doesn’t stop a traveler’s desire to see the world.
Just as we all daydream of seeing the famous Eiffel Tower or the Roman Coliseum, it’s no different for the Acropolis.
So while we were all locked down with few places to go, the Acropolis obviously didn’t go anywhere either.
Call it “revenge travel,” if you will, travelers are spending money like crazy to get out and scratch their travel itch.
In particular, the cruise industry has set sail in ways it never has.
Located south of Athens is the major cruise port of Piraeus. Passengers are disembarking to explore the city. But where do they go?
In a place like Greece, they come to the top attraction, which just so happens to be the Acropolis. It is now simply a victim of over-tourism, when in the past it could handle thousands of visitors smoothly.
It’s the influx of visitors having a trickle-down effect that leaves a bad image. A country like Greece needs tourism to thrive, so it’s important for one of its main draws to continue to be appealing.
If there are extremely long wait times, bad reviews, and negative narratives on TikTok, it’s not a good look.
So what new rules are taking effect this summer?
The New Rules Being Implemented This Summer
Visits to the Acropolis have seen an 80% increase in summer months compared to 2019, according to Greece’s Cultural Minister, Lina Mendoni.
That is why it’s paramount to enforce new rules as soon as possible to keep tourists safe and happy. It was recently reported guests were fainting in the extreme summer heat due to long lines outside.
To alleviate this concern, lines are expected to be directed through more shaded areas, and water will be provided.
The new rules at the Acropolis to aid with over-tourism will be:
- A time-slot system
- Designated fast lanes for organized tours
- Electronic ticketing
These new policies will hopefully make the experience better for everyone. There is also a long-term plan being developed to reconstruct the entrance to make it wider rather than have long lines zig and zag unnecessarily on what is already an uncomfortably steep climb uphill.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com