NEWS

Beginning of tourism season gets off to a rocky start

TAGS: Culture, Politics

As tourism starts to pick up with the advent of spring, the launch of summer opening hours at the country’s archaeological sites and museums on Saturday got off to a less than satisfactory start.

Employees at sites and museums tasked with covering the extended hours told Kathimerini on Monday that the Culture Ministry has yet to publish the opening times, leaving both staff and visitors in the dark. They added that despite an announcement by Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou last week that 1,314 guards had been hired to cover the extra shifts, none has reported to duty yet.

At the Acropolis on Monday morning, ticket desk attendants informed visitors that the gates would close at 4.30 p.m. and the site at 5 p.m. A couple of hours later, the time at which the last visitors would be admitted was extended to 7.30 p.m. 

Delphi is planning to continue closing at 4 p.m. until it is told otherwise by the ministry, while in Delos, the archaeological site is currently open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. – instead of 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – and so is the museum, “except when it’s the guard’s day off.”

The Archaeological Museum of Thebes, inaugurated last year, had winter opening hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. yesterday, though the ticket price was a summertime 6 euros.

On a brighter note – as the Culture Ministry scrambles to get the season on track – the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) estimates that visitor numbers this year will come to 27 million against 25 million last year, bringing in revenues of around 14.5 billion euros.

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