OPINION

Athens a city on the skids

Almost everything about downtown Athens would make one think that it is a city in a developing country, and the situation does not seem to be getting any better. It seems that there is a beggar on every street corner and you see stray dogs milling around and occasionally attacking the odd passer-by. Then there’s the sight of hundreds of street vendors taking up the sidewalks and promenades with their illegal wares laid out on bedsheets. The situation is completely unacceptable and makes a mockery of any efforts to boost revenues from tourism. It is ridiculous to talk about Athens as a prime tourist destination when, as a city, it seems to be doing its best to frighten tourists away. The responsibility for the sorry state of the country’s capital lies squarely on the shoulders of the City of Athens and the government. If they do not take some measures soon to improve the standard of living and the appearance of the city, they will be responsible for the decline of one of Europe’s most historic capitals.