Starting next month, only 20,000 visitors would be allowed to enter the Acropolis of Athens, Greece’s one of the most popular tourist attractions. The news was shared by the Greek government on Wednesday.
Lina Mendoni, the Culture Minister, said that it was the need of the hour and that the controls are needed to prevent overcrowding at the UNESCO World Heritage site. As of now, over 23,000 visitors squeeze into the monument complex in large groups.
Calling it a huge number, Medoni said “Obviously tourism is desirable for the country, for all of us. But we must work out how excessive tourism won’t harm the monument.”
The new rule will be applicable on a trial basis from September 4. If everything goes fine, the rule will permanently come into effect from April 1, 2024. However, there won’t be any limit on how long visits may last. But those who come with organised tours can spend an average 45 minutes at the site.
Different number of people would be allowed inside between 8 AM and 8 PM which are the opening hours. Also, as per the new system, only 3000 visitors will be allowed access from 8-9 AM, 2000 during the next hour. These numbers will vary during the rest of the day.
“The measure will address the need to protect the monument, which is the main thing for us, as well as (improving) visitors’ experience of the site,” the minister added.
In coming days, expect similar caps for other popular archaeological sites, said Mendoni.
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