OPINION

Olympic politeness?

Hundreds of flights a day have been bringing plane-loads of Olympic visitors to Athens over the last few days in the leadup to the launch of the Olympic Games – and not just athletes and other members of the «OIympic family» but hordes of tourists too. It is not yet clear whether predictions – that the Games will not attract enough visitors to boost what has undoubtedly been a bad year for tourism – will actually come true or not. What is clear, however, is that central Athens is now swarming with tourists, with the presence of Asians particularly predominant! Smiling and greeting passers-by, groups of them can be seen everywhere taking photographs and video camera footage. Even the notoriously impatient Greek motorists appear cheered by the spectacle, with most of them giving way for groups of tourists to cross busy streets in the city center rather than honking their horns obnoxiously. But how long is this spirit of good will likely to last? The city center is currently relatively uncongested – as many Athenians are away on their summer holidays, and bulky vehicles such as trucks and vans are off the roads due to a ban on store deliveries during the day. But what will happen to this Olympic politeness after the Games when things go back to normal and congestion returns to our streets once again?