The good news for Greece‘s tourism industry – a record 11.5 million tourists are expected this year reports the country‘s National Tourism Organization – is bad news for the country‘s best-known landmark, the increasingly crowded Acropolis.
“It‘s leading to terrible crowding,” local archaeologist Eleni Stylianou told dpa on Monday. The crush gets worst in the morning, when hordes of tourists stream out of their cruise ships.
The mass of people under the hot Athens sun can lead to unbearable situations. Tourists often have to queue for tickets and then take the hour-long climb to the Acropolis in temperatures that often reach 38 degrees Celsius, says Stylianou, who is also a tour guide.
She estimates that there should be no more than 4,000 people at the Acropolis at any one time. But she says there have been multiple days where 12,000 tourists have tried to pass through the propylaea, the courtyard that serves as both entrance and bottleneck to the Acropolis.
The Culture Ministry has set about trying to solve the problem. In cooperation with cruise ship companies, it is working on a plan whereby the ships will unload their passengers in shifts for tours of the Acropolis and other city attractions, reported the newspaper To Vima on its website.