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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 17 October 2015
GREECE 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 17 OCTOBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Acropolis’ absurd ticket hike Greek government raises the price of the country’s most popular archaeological site from A$19.06 to A$80.44 The breathtaking view from the top of the Epidaurus theatre in Mycenae, Greece. The past to the rescue Greek citizens help country capitalise on ancient assets Diazoma, a citizens' platform aimed at protecting and promoting ancient Greek monuments, has come a long way since it was established in 2008, and is now looking to the future with reinforced confidence based on its winning combination of digital culture and entrepreneurship. This was the main line of thought expressed at the organisation's seventh general assembly, which took place recently in Kammena Vourla, central Greece, as the broader geographical area came under the organisation's scrutiny. "This year the focus is on entrepreneurship," said Stavros Benos, the former culture minister who founded Diazoma as a citizens' movement with the objective of benefiting the country as a whole. Diazoma has grown to such an extent that it is now helping to build synergies in the higher echelons of private initiative: From archaeologists and scientists through to institutions, the initiative is promoting a development model for regions by focusing on ancient theatres as well as ways to connect culture, the environment, tourism, local societies and Greek and international networks. So far, the efforts have led to tangible results. This is why this year's assembly - the annual meetings tend to serve as mini-conferences for brainstorming between established scientists and young visionaries - focused on the future. The prevailing feeling among participants was that the country needs to be raised and to enter a period of growth. At the meeting, regional governor of Central Greece Costas Bakoyiannis spoke of an "opening toward culture" and the idea of an organic connection between points of interest in different regions. Diazoma completes restoration studies which are then presented to state officials, who in turn seek European funding for their realisation. It is worth pointing out that following the successful piloting of the initiative's Cultural Itinerary for the Ancient Theatres of Epirus, a similar route was developed in the region of Central Greece. The developing network and the possibilities attached are not focused exclusively on archaeological landmarks, such as Delphi, but also around lesser-known archaeological areas, such as Eretria, Thebes, Chaeronea and Orchomenos, among others. These ancient sites figure on a cultural map which is further enriched with more recent monuments, such as the Castle of Lamia, or beautiful landscapes, such as those of Evrytania. During the Diazoma officials' four-day tour across Central Greece, the region demonstrated its potential as a tourist destination, an area capable of generating pride, emotion and wealth. While the restoration project for the ancient Theatre of Eretria is about to be submitted to the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), the impressive study regarding the development of the Archaeological Park of Orchomenos is based on Diazoma's holistic approach - also reflected in the initiative's Epidaurus project. This has to do with the fact that two of Greece's leading archaeologists, professors Vassilis Lambrinoudakis and Petros Themelis, are core members of Diazoma. The Orchomenos project - the city was one of the wealthiest in antiquity - was presented at the Athens Concert Hall to high acclaim. The trilogy of monuments located in the vicinity - a 13thcentury tomb monument, a Hellenistic theatre and the ninth-century Church of Panagia Skripou - are bound to change the broader area's overall character and future. The study for the Orchomenos Archaeological Park was carried out by Pleias Architects, headed by Dimitris Diamantopoulos, while the theatre’s restoration project was developed by Themis Billis and Maria Magnisali. Source: Kathimerini Yet another slump for the Greek labour market The counry’s economy suffered the loss of 13,000 jobs last month ROULA SALOUROU Salaried employment in Greece recorded its secondworst performance of the last 15 years in September, as according to the Labour Ministry's Ergani database the market lost 13,003 jobs on top of the last few months' negative Unemployed Greeks wait in a long line at a state labour office to collect benefit cheques in Athens. balance between people hired and those let go. Last month was the third in a row where departures outnumbered hirings, coinciding with the period since the imposition of capital controls on June 28. Since July 1 PHOTO: AP/THANASSIS STAVRAKIS. there have been 30,102 more people made redundant than those starting new jobs, although in the first nine months of the year hirings outnumbered departures by 173,021 jobs. Full-time employment hirings declined from 42.25 per cent in September 2014 to 38.15 per cent last month, while part-time employment saw its share grow by 15.46 percentage points in one year and shift work added 7.71 percentage points. Source: Kathimerini Pericles' symbol of Democracy, the Parthenon, has been turned into the symbol of a cash-strapped nation overnight. In search of a money-generating solution, Alexis Tsipras and the Ministry of Tourism decided to capitalise on the citadel's popularity, increasing admission fees. To replenish the government's finances, the Greek economy has targeted the streams of tourists arriving to visit the cradle of the famous Athenian civilisation. Athens is reportedly hiking the Acropolis ticket from A$19.06 to as much as A$80.44 per person, sparking many negative comments. With more than 10,000 tourists visiting the holy rock each day during peak season, the current entrance fee was dubbed "unacceptably low" by SYRIZA party officials. Alexis Tsipras' government has argued additional revenues from tourists could offset austerity measures demanded by international bailout creditors, such as higher taxation on all private education. "By introducing the price adjustment at state museums and archaeological site entrance fees, we can repeal and replace that measure that affects many more Greeks," said Culture Minister Aristides Baltas in a recent statement. Greek travel agents, however, fear drastically soaring prices fourfold will not help the country's finances breathe but deter potential visitors from coming. "The value-added tax hikes on all goods and tourism services, as well as the announced increases to the ticket prices of museums and archaeological sites, burden the travel package so much that it will become uncompetitive in the end," said Lysandros Tsilidis, the president of the federation of Greek travel agents. The Acropolis won't be the only Greek treasure to suffer, however, as the Greek culture ministry confirmed higher prices will also come in at 200 state museums. Popular tourist sites, the likes of Ancient Olympia and the Minoan ruins of Knossos in Crete, will also more than double their entrance fees. The new prices will apply between April and November 2016, with a 50 per cent discount for the rest of the year while unemployed Greeks will be granted free entry. Meanwhile, the number of people visiting Greek museums in June, rose by 9.5 per cent over last year, with receipts rising by 13.4 per cent, according to figures published on Wednesday by the Hellenic Statistical Authority (ELSTAT). There was a 7.8 per cent rise in the number of visitors to archaeological sites during the same month. Receipts rose by 10.1 per cent. Between January and June this year, visitors to museums have risen by 11.8 per cent and receipts by 17.2 per cent. During the same period, there was a 11.2 per cent rise in visitors and 10.7 per cent increase in receipts at archaeological sites. Source: Daily Mail, CNBC Greek travel agents fear the price increase could scare away visitors. PHOTO: AP/DANIEL OCHOA DE OLZA.
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