The Panhellenic Guide Federation (POXEN) recently sent an official letter of protest to the tourism development ministry following complaints made by visitors to Greece and tour guides with regard to the restricted opening hours of museum and archeological sites.
The letter officially demands an extension of the opening hours beyond 15:00 and asserts “It is a significant problem for all members of the tourism sector if there is no extension of the opening hours of museums and archeological sites throughout Greece, particularly as the busy tourism season has already begun.”
The letter explains that POXEN has repeatedly asked the Hellenic Ministry of Culture for information on when opening hours would be extended with no response as yet. It outlines the difficulty for tour guides and travel agents to coordinate tours and arrange several visits within one day.
According to the letter, when cruise ships arrive at ports all around Greece at noon, visits to key archeological sites and important museums are not possible or in some situations, are cut short.
The letter provides examples of key archeological sites, such as those of Knossos, Phaistos, Delphi and Lindos that are open only until 15:00 and several key sites and museums that are closed on Mondays. The letter questions why a visitor after having traveled thousands of miles to come to Greece would want to pay for a full ticket only to see half a museum or be rushed out in order for it to close on time.
The letter of protest stresses, “It is important for our ministers to understand that for us the tourism season begins around the time of the Catholic Easter -this year being in March- and the highest season for cultural tourism and educational/school trips are always March, April, May and then September, October, November, and these visitors must leave Greece satisfied with their experience.” It concludes, “We hope the ministry extends the working hours, even this late in the season, and be more prepared in years to come.”