Faced with overcrowding, the Greek government has implemented a new timed ticketing system for the Acropolis in Athens, as well as a cap of 20,000 visitors per day. Visitors to the Acropolis increased by 80% last June and early July compared to the same period in 2019.
Tourists must now book a specific visit time on the online site and no longer hold a simple ticket valid for the day. Slots are open at regular intervals to distribute visitors throughout the day. For example, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., only 3,000 people will be allowed to enter, while between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., only 2,000 visitors will be able to access the site. Quotas will change every hour, until closing at 8 p.m. “Half of the visitors showed up so far between eight o’clock and noon”specifies Lina Mendoni, the Greek Minister of Culture, to CNN.
This new program called “Visitor Zones” has been on trial since September 4, for seven months. From April 1, 2024, this measure will be definitively in force and will extend to other tourist sites in Greece. With their QR code, visitors will be allowed to enter 15 minutes before the scheduled time and up to 15 minutes after it – with the exception of the last time slot of the day when entry will no longer be possible after the appointed time.
The Acropolis is one of many European tourist sites to introduce timed tickets or to limit the number of visitors in order to cope with the massive influx of tourists. The Acropolis Museum, located near the ruins, already uses a timed ticketing system.
For several years, the Italian government has also been considering implementing several measures to control mass tourism in Venice, including the obligation to make reservations, the payment of an entrance fee and the use of electronic turnstiles to access the city. Although these restrictions have been postponed several times since 2019 – largely due to the pandemic, the City Council recently decided to test this device in 2024. From next year, day tourists will be subject to a tax of 5 euros to enter the lagoon city during the busiest 30 days of the year.