Archaeological sites and most museums in Attica will remain closed during the weekend, July 29 and 30, due to a 48-hour strike called by the employees of the Ministry of Culture.
The employees demand that the ministry hires additional administrative personnel, as well as 33 archaeologists and 200 guards at sites and museums across the country. They also ask for the overtime payment of guards and sanitation staff on holidays.
Amid the summer season, Greece’s tourism officials express their concern on the way the strike could affect tourism in the area. In a letter addressed to Culture Minister Lydia Koniordou, the president of the Greek Tourism Confederation (SETE) Yiannis Retsos said a solution should be found, in order for the archaeological sites and museums to operate as normal.
“Greece’s culture is a global heritage and one of the country’s competitive advantages,” Retsos underlined. “For some travelers a visit to the archaeological sites of Attica is a lifetime goal and they may not have the chance of making this trip again,” he added.
Moreover, the Athens-Attica & Argosaronic Hotel Association said the closure of museums and archaeological sites for a whole weekend in the middle of the summer tourism season is a major issue for the city’s visitors and tourism professionals. “It would be a shame for employees and tourism professionals to have to explain -once more – to tourists that have traveled hundreds or thousands of kilometers to visit the Acropolis, the reason why archaeological sites and museums are shut,” the Association said in a letter addressed to Minister Koniordou.
According to data on hotel performance and visitors’ satisfaction released by the Association, the majority of tourists (80 percent) visit Athens for its archaeological sites and culture.