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Greek archaeological sites closed due to strikes – as tourism in the country is set increase

One of the most prominent signs to tourists, of the financial crisis affecting Greece [1], is the seemingly never-ending strikes [2] that beleaguer the country.

While the strikers are striking for a reason, when one hears stories of people whose holidays have been ruined by them, one wonders about the effect that they have on tourism. As the second article points out, tourism is set to rise again – but everything must be done within Greece to promote this & show the tourists that they will have an enjoyable stay there.

One thing missed by many of these articles about strikes in Greece is that the New Acropolis Museum is run in a very different way to the majority of state owned archaeological sites in Greece – and as such, has never been closed due to strike action.

Greek Reporter [3]

Strike Closes Greek Museums, Sites
By Andy Dabilis on March 8, 2013

Once again, and as Greece has picked up its campaign to lure tourists back after a disappointing last year, archaeological sites and museums were closed because of a workers’ strike against more pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions being imposed by the government on the orders of international lenders.

A 24-hour strike on March 8 shut down the sites across the country. The workers said they were also protesting plans to cut back the Culture Ministry’s operations although it is essential to the tourism industry, the biggest revenue-producer for the country.

Tourists who showed up at the Acropolis found the gates locked as they have been a number of times before, and it was the same at museums and other attractions where people were turned away.

In a written statement, striking employees expressed their opposition to the planned reforms which, they said, would put jobs at risk and compromise the work of the Culture Ministry. Following talks with unionists representing the workers, Alternate Culture Minister Costas Tzavaras has said that his ministry could not intervene and that the cuts would go ahead despite any protests.

Last year, images of protests, strikes and riots, which led to the closing of airports, ports, the subway, public transportation and other sites scared off tourists who headed for other countries, particularly Turkey and the government is hoping to convince them this year that it will be different although workers said more strikes are forthcoming.

Huffington Post [4]

Greece Poised To Make A Tourism Comeback
Reuters | Posted: 03/08/2013 2:46 am EST | Updated: 03/08/2013 8:18 am EST
By Michelle Martin and Victoria Bryan

BERLIN, March 8 (Reuters) – Tourism in Greece is bouncing back this year in an otherwise flat European market, held back by the weak economic climate, travel industry executives said.

The desire for a beach holiday closer to home for cost-conscious consumers in Europe is helping to revive tourism demand in the country, battling recession and a debt crisis.

Doerte Nordbeck from market research group GfK showed in a presentation at the ITB travel fair this week that bookings to Greece from Britain, Germany and the Netherlands for this summer were up 10 percent.

Tourism income for Greece, its chief money spinner, fell by 4.6 percent to 9.89 billion euros from January-November in 2012 according to the country’s central bank.

Arrivals from Germany, Greece’s biggest tourism market, dropped by almost a fifth, partly on fears about a backlash on German tourists caused by Berlin’s tough austerity demands on Athens.

Alltours, Germany’s No. 4 tour operator, said bookings for holidays in Greece were up 30 percent on the year by March 5, boding well for the country where tourism accounts for around one fifth of output and one in five jobs.

“The tourism industry in Greece has overcome the crisis of the last two years and is now back on top form,” said Willi Verhuven, chief executive of German tour operator Alltours.

Verhuven said the company was in particular seeing a surge in bookings from repeat customers who had ditched Greece in favour of other resorts.

Europe’s largest tour operator TUI Travel is also seeing a comeback for Greece, with bookings at the group’s German unit up 4 percent. Bookings from the UK are performing strongly, a spokesman said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened the ITB fair this year, called on trade fair visitors to take holidays in ailing euro zone states like Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy to help to create jobs.

“I also wish that European countries which are famous for tourism get good custom – I name Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy – all countries in which growth is really necessary at the moment and where we have to make an effort to finally get people back into work,” she said.