Thousands of tourists “besiege” the Acropolis of Athens on daily basis even though the high season for tourism is not at its peak – yet.
Thousands of tourists rush to admire the archaeological magnificence of the Acropolis under unimaginable suffering: The dangers for themselves, for the monument and the works that were done and exposed the country internationally.
Athens attracts millions of tourists and the first archaeological monument that everyone rushes to see is the Acropolis, which has been included in the World Heritage List since 1987.
These days, and while the tourist traffic is peaking ahead of the summer, the Acropolis is marked by inseparability, with the result that visitors suffer an unimaginable inconvenience by waiting for hours in huge queues and putting their health and physical integrity at risk, while the archaeological site is at risk of being “damaged,” noted news website news247.gr in its relevant report.
Beginning of the week, a tourist guide complained to state broadcaster ERT about the situation and proposed that at least tourist groups from cruise-ships or tour operators reschedule their visits to Acropolis in the afternoon.
Calls for a Tourists Management Plan
Kriton Piperas, president of the Association of Certified Guides, told iefimerida.gr, that immediate measures are required to manage the hordes of tourists at the Holy Rock.
“Over the last month, the overcrowding in the Acropolis has been getting worse and there are daily intense protests. A solution must be found immediately.” he said stressing that people have to wait over one hour to get in.
“Before the season really starts, the historical monument is under enormous pressure. The queues reach as far as Dionysiou Areopagitou street. Currently tourists are forced to wait an hour in line to enter the Acropolis and another hour is required to get from the Propylaia to the Parthenon. It’s not just the inconvenience,” Piperas said calling on the relevant authorities and agencies to introduce a Tourist Flow Management Plan.
The Association of Certified Guides has proposed to change the exit from the the Acropolis. “The problem and overcrowding is created because in Propylaia there is both an ascent and a descent. So that’s where the inseparable is created. There should be an exit from the east side which is the old museum with a staircase that will take tourists down to a gate that already exists and from there tourists can walk to Plaka. That would really be a lifesaver,” Piperas said.
Another problem pointed out by the guides association is the “skip the line”, for those who have issued electronic tickets, which does not apply to the Acropolis.
“They have to stay in endless queues together with those who do not have a ticket. The same problem applies to groups that have a specific tour time. As a result, protests are a daily occurrence,” the president said.
Tourists vs locals
Especially in the morning hours the tourists’ invasion is huge with the buses that take them to the historic monument to block main roads in downtown Athens, thus causing traffic jams, with work commuters to be at the end of their patience.
In the four years of conservative Mitsotakis government focus was put on the s0-called “heavy industry” of the country, that is the tourism.
However, it’s not enough to facilitate hotels and Airbnb and be proud of the millions of visitors coming to the country. One has to see the broader picture: protect your own country, its monuments, its citizens and its visitors.
Greece may currently have a caretaker government until the repeated general elections of June 25, but the cabinet including the Culture Minister was sworn in earlier today. time of imminent measures is a challenge indeed.
pictures: Athina 9.84FM, iefimerida.gr, news247.gr