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Greek Museums, Sites Begin To Cash In On Extended Opening Hours Scheme

National Archaeological Museum. Photo © Lefteris Papaulakis / Shutterstock

National Archaeological Museum. Photo © Lefteris Papaulakis / Shutterstock

The Greek Government’s decision to extend the opening hours of the country’s most popular museums and archaeological sites seems to be paying off as visitor numbers and revenue from receipts showed an impressive increase in April, according to data recently released by the Greek Culture Ministry.

As of 1 April, the opening hours of 33 Greek museums and archaeological sites were extended (8am to 8pm, seven days a week). The scheme will run until the end of the season (31 October 2014).

Akrotiri, Santorini. Photo © NikD90 / Shutterstock

Akrotiri, Santorini. Photo © NikD90 / Shutterstock

The data showed that in April the Archaeological Site of Akrotiri on Santorini collected 115.81 percent more revenue from receipts, compared with the same month of 2013. Akrotiri was followed by the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion (109.59 percent rise in revenue), the White Tower in Thessaloniki (100.26 percent) and the Acropolis of Ialyssos on Rhodes (95.85 percent).

An increase in revenue from receipts was also recorded at the Byzantine and Christian Museum (68.89 percent) and the National Archaeological Museum in Athens (24 percent). Revenue from the purchase of the combined ticket for entrance to the major sites of Athens historic city center (that includes the Acropolis) was up by 17 percent.

The smallest percentage of revenue was collected by the Archaeological Site of Sounio although tickets sales showed a 14.12 percent rise.

“The data of April is only the beginning,” the Minister of Culture and Sport Panos Panagiotopoulos said during a press conference. Mr. Panagiotopoulos said he expects the interventions made in the country’s museums and sites to bring in even more positive results.

Besides extending the opening hours at the 33 museum and sites, improvements have been made to their gift shops, ticket sale spots and refreshments areas. Also in the works is the upgrade of the online presence of Greece’s museums and sites.

The culture minister added that the ministry planned to embark on a new cultural marketing project in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry and the sector’s professionals.

In addition, Mr. Panagiotopoulos said he hoped to expand the scheme and extend the opening hours of museums and archaeological sites located in Epirus, Eastern Macedonia and the North Aegean.

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