Visitors to Samaria Gorge, one of Crete’s top natural attractions, located in the region of Hania, will now be able to purchase their ticket electronically via the website tickets-samaria.necca.gov.gr, or pay for admission by card at the gorge’s entrance points.
Apart from making it easier for visitors to plan ahead, the electronic system also allows proceeds from admission fees – around 700,000 euros a year – to be channeled directly into the Natural Environment and Climate Change Agency (NECCA), which will use those funds towards the site’s protection and promotion.
Samaria Gorge is the only natural monument in Greece whose estimated 150,000 annual visitors pay admission and have been doing so since 1990. Until last year, proceeds were handled by the Hania Forestry Department and paid into the Green Fund, which then distributed 30% of the money to the three municipalities bordering the gorge.
Under the new system, NECCA will be responsible for distributing a portion of the proceeds to the local authorities, which will then have to report to the agency about how they use the money to the benefit of the site.
General admission to Samaria Gorge costs 5 euros, though children aged 5 and under, European Union nationals up to the age of 18, senior citizens, wheelchair users and their companions, EU students, the unemployed and researchers are exempt.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.